Stewart Downing wants Aston Villa team-mates to replicate England form

Stewart Downing has urged his Aston Villa team-mates in the England squad to reproduce their international form in the Premier League to ensure their club climb clear of the relegation zone.

Stewart Downing wants Aston Villa team-mates to replicate England form Downing was speaking after he became the third Villa player to catch the eye in an England shirt in the past few days, when he was named man of the match in the 1-1 draw against Ghana at Wembley.

It was arguably Downing's best performance for England and followed the man-of-the-match display Ashley Young produced in the 2-0 victory over Wales on Saturday. With Darren Bent scoring on his first competitive start for England in that game, it has been a highly successful couple of matches for the Villa contingent in Fabio Capello's squad and provided some welcome respite from the doom and gloom enveloping their club.

Villa are a point above the relegation zone and head to Everton on Saturday on the back of one win in six league games and with pressure mounting on the manager, Gérard Houllier.

Downing admitted that Villa face a "big test" over their final eight league matches to avoid relegation, but he is hopeful individual performances on England duty can fuel belief and be carried into the rest of the season. "Coming away with England gives you confidence if you play well in the team," he said. "Benty's come away and got a goal and Ashley Young has played well, so we need to put that in our club performances now – we have got a big test ahead of us.

"It's pleasing [the way the Villa players in the England squad have performed] and hopefully we can produce that for Aston Villa now. Even for the Under-21 lads – Marc Albrighton played well and [Nathan] Delfouneso [who is currently on loan at Burnley] getting the goal [against Iceland] – so it was a good week for the club, but we have to transfer that into our club football now and get results."

Gary Cahill, who was one of three former Villa players in the England squad on Tuesday, believes that his display against Ghana proves he is capable of being a regular for his country. The Bolton Wanderers defender played his first full 90 minutes for England, partnering Everton's Phil Jagielka in central defence in the first half and lining up alongside Manchester City's Joleon Lescott after the interval.

"I would like to think that after the performance against Ghana I have proved that I can play at this level," said Cahill who had previously made two substitute appearances for England. "There has to be [a lot of positives from the match]. You've got Andy Carroll getting his first goal. The likes of [Matt] Jarvis and [Danny] Welbeck getting their first appearances, and the likes of myself getting my first 90 minutes under my belt.

"There is a lot of competition for my position but I will be patient and I will look to take my chance when given.

"I've got two other caps, in different circumstances, so it was nice to play from the off and get a full 90 minutes under my belt," he said. "It was a great honour and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"Knowing that you're starting I like because you can prepare for the game, while when you come on as a sub it is difficult to get to grips with the pace of the game."

Powered by article was written by Stuart James, for The Guardian on Thursday 31st March 2011 00.34 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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