Downing has made 15 appearances playing through the centre of West Ham’s midfield, according to WhoScored, and the player has explained why he feels that is his best position.
“I probably prefer to play through the middle because I’m getting older and there’s less running involved. The way the team sets up, I think it really suits my style of play so I prefer that,” said Downing.
Downing has been used for a large part of his career as a winger. He’s well suited down the left and also offers a threat cutting in onto his left foot to rain shots on goal.
He’s also a very creative player and someone who protects the ball well, which probably explains why Allardyce made the decision to switch his position earlier in the season.
There is pace in other players to play around him, but he’s someone who is capable of producing that something magical, which can be the difference in a tight game against a difficult opponent.
Allardyce will likely resist the temptation to change his position too much if he’s kept on as the manager for next season.
He offers versatility and is important when players like Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan have off days, where they are off the pace and struggle in terms of their basic midfield play.
It’s important he now has a chance to play consistently in a settled role because changing him around too often runs the risk of muting his influence and impact.