Morrison makes Downing stand
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
James Morrison has backed Middlesbrough team-mate Stewart Downing.
James Morrison has backed Middlesbrough team-mate Stewart Downing to prove his detractors wrong and win back his England place.
Downing endured the first setback in his fledgling international career on Wednesday, when left out of the England side that played in Croatia, having previously enjoyed a prolonged run in Joe Cole's absence.
The 22-year-old has yet to really produce the type of displays which have characterised his performances at The Riverside on the international stage, with some criticism claiming favourtism has played its hand, given McClaren's link with Boro.
While the England faithful may not be entirely convinced by Downing's left wing forays for his country, Morrison believes his club colleague has all the attributes to flourish on the highest stage.
Morrison is convinced that Downing's delivery is second to none and it is a long and fruitful international career that he predicts for his fellow Boro starlet.
"I have played with him for a long time and seen what he can do, so I have no doubts about Stewey Downing," Morrison told the club's official website.
"I do not think there is anybody better than him down the left-hand side at the moment - I cannot think of anyone.
"There are a lot bigger names than him in the team who are not doing so well. Stewey is tough enough to block it out of his head.
"Against Greece, he laid on four goals and yet they are saying he does not go past a man. I just do not know where they are coming from."