Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football, but with Dimitri Payet ruled out for three months with an ankle injury one wonders if West Ham United would have let Stewart Downing leave if they knew what would happen further down the line.
With Payet fit and firing, the memories of Downing’s time at Upton Park had long since faded, even that period last season when the winger moved into the centre and delivered some of his best performances in a Hammers shirt.
Downing may not be at Payet’s level, but with the Frenchman now side-lined and the likes of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho also suffering injuries, the former England international’s creativity would have ensured their absences were not so sorely felt.
Of course Downing would not have been happy biding his time at the start of the campaign, waiting for his chance, and he has long since moved to Championship side Middlesbrough, where he has scored three goals and provided three assists so far this season. But one cannot help but think of those West Ham supporters who suggested selling the former England international was the wrong move at the time.
His experience would have proved vital in the coming months, with Slaven Bilic’s side at risk of seeing the fruits of their early efforts lost in the midst of an injury crisis.
But we must live by our decisions, and with Downing gone it is up to those left behind to step up.