Stewart Downing says that West Ham United signing Alex Song has helped his own performances.
The addition of Song at Upton Park has allowed Downing to play with more freedom, as he knows that there is more defensive solidarity behind him, and he cites this as one of the major reasons for the improvement in his performances.
"Signing Alex Song has helped me," Downing said to The Telegraph. "I’m playing further up and he does a lot of the other (defensive) work. This season it is like a totally different club. The new signings have given everyone a lift."
Song joined on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona in the summer transfer window and was quite a coup for Sam Allardyce's side.
Although the Cameroonian has a questionable temperament, he is a talented midfielder, who has spent large parts of his career playing Champions League football, and his arrival offers some valuable experience to the Hammers' squad.
Song made his debut for the side in a 2-2 draw against Hull City, where he came off the bench late on, but it was against Liverpool last weekend where he showed his true value.
The defensive midfielder dictated player and showed good energy in one of the most impressive performances West Ham have put in for some time.
The Hammers ran out 3-1 winners with their new brand of attacking football catching the eye against the top-four contenders. In that match, Downing thrived in an attacking midfield role, as he adopted a new central position.
The England international has spent most of his playing career as a winger, but has been resurgent as the side's main creator and he is clearly enjoying life at Upton Park as a result.
"I’m absolutely loving it at the minute,’’ said the 30-year-old. “I always thought when I got older I would go inside but probably not this early. It’s certainly given me a new lease of life.’’
Song and Downing will now be hoping to build on their impressive performances when the Hammers take on Manchester United on Saturday, and their experience should prove key for Allardyce's men as they try to cause an upset.