Downing admits embarrassment
Stewart Downing has admitted he was disappointed not to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool but is confident things will turn around.
Last Updated: 08/06/12 8:48am
Stewart Downing has admitted he was disappointed not to score a Premier League goal in his debut season for Liverpool but is confident things will turn around.
Signed for £20million from Aston Villa by Kenny Dalglish last summer, the 27-year-old not only failed to find the net - he did not manage an assist either.
At the same time, he was the only outfield player to make some sort of on-field contribution to all nine England games during 2011, has played in two out of the Three Lions' three matches this year and is in contention to start the Group D opener against France on Monday.
He insists statistics can be misleading but is not happy to have ended his first season at Anfield with a zero in the goals column.
Asked directly if his failure was embarrassing, Downing added: "The goal thing is. The fact is I didn't get enough goals.
"I hit the post and the bar many times and missed a few chances so I was disappointed, especially when I scored goals for Aston Villa the year before.
"Sometimes you are on a run and get goals; sometimes you don't. I try to score and maybe next season I will get 10 or 15. Football is like that. But I am disappointed I did not score enough."
And Downing would not feel so bad about the goals if that lack of assists was not thrown at him as well.
"Statistics have taken over the game: he doesn't score this, he hasn't set up that. You can read into it as you like," he said.
"I've constantly set up chances, season in and season out. I can't be criticised for not creating. I've just been unlucky that we've not finished the chances."
Liverpool finished eighth this season, delivering a series of results - especially at Anfield - that undermined their reputation as one of English football's giants.
Owner John Henry was evidently unimpressed as, within weeks of the final-day defeat at Swansea, he had turfed out Dalglish and installed Brendan Rodgers as the Scot's successor.
Yet, following the late introductions of Jordan Henderson and Martin Kelly, the Reds supply six members of Roy Hodgson's squad - almost a third of the outfield men.
"I don't think those six players did that bad - just that, as a whole group, we were not clinical enough," Downing said. "It's all about personal opinions.
"If there were eight Manchester United players in the team and they didn't win the league, would people be asking why they are here?
"As players we have to be mentally strong and concentrate on the good bits of our games because the manager has seen something that shows why we've been picked."