Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has hailed Kenny Dalglish as a 'real man-manager' and has revealed that he almost joined Spurs.
Liverpool winger reflects on past Spurs bid
Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has hailed Kenny Dalglish as a "real man-manager" and has revealed that he almost joined Tottenham Hotspur from Middlesbrough in 2008.
The England international joined the Reds from Aston Villa in the summer and has been one of the better players at Anfield, helping the club to seven points from four league matches so far.
Downing is expected to feature against Spurs at White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, and speaking ahead of the encounter the 27-year-old has explained how he could have been playing for the north London club instead.
"In summer 2008 there were offers to go from Middlesbrough, from Spurs and other teams," he said. "But the chairman (Steve Gibson) said there would be investment in the team. I was happy at home, so I said I'd stay. It (the investment) didn't really materialise, though.
"Spurs came back in the following January but I didn't force it. I said to Middlesbrough I'd maybe like to do it in the summer but when summer came I was injured and Boro had been relegated.
"Because I was injured, Spurs were maybe thinking they would wait until August but I couldn't take that risk.
"Martin O'Neill (then Villa manager) pushed it really hard and I'm happy I went to Villa because it's a great football club and he was really good to me.
"When you look at the bigger picture, it (the career path I ended up taking) has worked out quite well for me."
Downing also gave an insight into Liverpool boss Dalglish's managerial style and enthused: "Kenny is the same (like O'Neill at Villa) but in a quieter sense.
"He might pull you to one side, I don't think he'll praise you a lot but it will be more a bit of pushing and prodding.
"I've seen in the first few weeks that he is a top man, well respected. He has a bit of an aura. He's bigger than all the players here put together. He's a man that everybody wants to play for and a real man-manager."
Speaking on his decision to leave Villa Park for Anfield in the summer, Downing stated: "I respected Kenny because he paid a lot of money for a player coming into his late 20s.
"People said I didn't show any loyalty but you've got to make the most of your career in any job and [Liverpool] is a step up.
"I just thought I'm 27 and it was my chance to go to the next level and if I didn't take it now, I won't get that chance again."