Downing was one of West Ham’s most important players last season, showing versatility and experience on a weekly basis under former manager Sam Allardyce.
He’s explained how he was given a harsh message earlier in his career, which has helped him develop into a better player at a later stage in his career.
“When I was at Middlesbrough, one of our coaches would say ‘you’re just going to use your right foot for the next ten minutes’” he said.
“This forced me to improve my weaker foot. If you’re relying on using your favoured foot, it’s easier for the defender to mark you, he can shut the line off and show you inside, where you’ll run into more bodies.”
Downing is now a player who can play down either side of midfield, as well as having the ability to play through the middle in behind the main striker.
That versatility is important but it’s also important that whoever comes in to replace Allardyce, gives Downing the chance to settle in a specific role.
It’s difficult for any player to have to constantly change and adapt to new positions in a team because they don’t know where they’ll be asked to play from one week to the next.
However, part of Downing’s impact at the club relates back to that message he was given by a Middlesbrough coach and hopefully the next manager can work closely with the player to make him an even more complete midfielder.