Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Can Do It

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Can Do It

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Steel

Stewart Downing today assured fans that Boro will be firing on all cylinders in Saturday's Premiership opener at in-form Reading.

Boro have won just two of nine games in a patchy pre-season run to leave alarm bells ringing among some supporters.

By contrast, the Royals are flush with confidence after a ten-match unbeaten streak - including a 2-1 victory over common opponents Feyenoord.

But Downing believes close season form will count for nothing at the Madejski Stadium.

The World Cup winger said: "I would urge fans not to look too much into our pre-season results.

"They were more or less practice games in Holland. We fielded a lot of young lads who are not even playing in the reserves yet. It's a tougher environment for them playing against top class players.

"The results didn't flatter us at any point but it was good exercise for us and we are ready for Reading.

"It will be a big test, it's their first time in the Premiership, they are at home and they will want to get off to a good start.

"I would imagine that the first half an hour of the game is going to be 100 miles an hour.

"But we are up for it, we know what to expect and with our quality we should go to Reading and win."

Downing was man of the match in the weekend draw with Chievo as he looks forward to the Reading game - and a possible run-out with England tomorrow night.

The 22-year-old is in former Boro boss Steve McClaren's squad for his first game in charge against Greece at Old Trafford.

And he is determined to cement his place as an England regular this season by starring for Boro.

He said: "The World Cup was a brilliant experience for me and it's given me a lot of confidence.

"Steve McClaren has shown faith in me again by picking me, so hopefully I can repay his faith and get a start or come off the bench and do well.

"There will be no stepping back for me this season. Last season was a bit frustrating with my knee injury, but I'm over that now.

"I've got one foot in the door with England and I want to get them both in and be a regular in the England squad. …

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