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By ESPN Staff
Mar 23, 2011

Downing welcomes international break

Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing believes the international break has come at the right time for the strggling club.

Villa are only one point above the bottom three in the Premier League after the 1-0 home defeat to Wolves on Saturday.

Supporters called for manager Gerard Houllier to be sacked at the end of a week which saw James Collins and Richard Dunne fined for their behaviour during a team bonding session at a health spa.

But Downing, Ashley Young, Darren Bent and Kyle Walker will put those problems to one side as they look to help England overcome Wales in Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff, when the quartet will be looking to get the better of club mate Collins.

Downing said: "It does help to have a break from the relegation worries. You are part of a different environment with a different kind of pressure. If you do well, it can help bring confidence for when you go back to the club.

"We can regroup at Villa and get some players back from injury and suspension so it (the break) has probably come at a good time. Then we can get focused and go again because we missed some of those players not involved against Wolves.''

Downing is looking to get one over on Collins, who is hoping to have recovered from the calf injury which has kept him out of recent Villa matches.

"It will be a tough game for us because they have got some good players," he said. "Obviously James Collins is in the Wales squad so there will be a bit of rivalry there.

"I'm sure there will be a few texts flying around this week about what is going to happen. It is enjoyable to play against your mates and wind them up if you can get one over on them.''

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