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Former Middlesbrough and Blackburn man announces retirement

Middlesbrough legend Stewart Downing has announced his retirement from football, aged 37.

Middlesbrough printed the player’s announcement via their official website, with Downing giving thanks to his family and friends inside and outside of football. He also hinted at what the future might bring.

“After some time to relax and reflect with my family over the summer, I have decided the time has come to retire from playing professional football,” he said.

“I am excited for the future whether that be in the media, coaching or management. I have learned a lot from the game over the years and gained a lot of experience that hopefully I can pass on to others.

Middlesbrough gave Downing his opportunity in the first-team at just 17-years-old and he went on to play over 200 times across eight years. He signed for Aston Villa following Boro’s relegation down to the Championship in 2009 and earned himself a big move to Liverpool two years later.

His spell at Anfield didn’t necessarily go to plan, making 91 appearances across two seasons and finding the net on seven occasions.

He enjoyed his time at West Ham United, which was far more fruitful. His form at the Hammers earned him a recall to the England national team after two years out for friendly matches against Slovenia and Scotland in 2014.

Prior to this he had played 34 times for the Three Lions and represented his country at the 2006 World Cup. He played three times in the tournament, each time being brought on as a substitute. He played against Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ecuador; in his three appearances England ended the game with a victory, the three victories out of their five games played.

Following his exploits with West Ham he moved back to Middlesbrough in the Championship and helped secure promotion back to the Premier League with his boyhood club. In his second spell he played 170 times in all competitions.

After four years back at the Riverside he joined Blackburn Rovers, where he spent the final two years of his career.

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