Downing was one of West Ham’s most versatile and most important attacking players last season, offering an option out wide as well as through the middle, in behind the main striker.
He’s explained that part of his recent progression has been down to Sheringham challenging him and placing pressure on him to provide more end product to the attacking skill he’s always had.
“Our coach Teddy Sheringham always says to me ‘It’s not good just playing in your position, you’ve got to get goals and create – that’s your job’. It’s not just about playing well; you’ve got to be effective. My way of thinking has changed – Have confidence, be brave and keep trying,” he said.
Downing can look back on his stats from last season and be relatively pleased with what he sees; six goals and eight assists from all competitions.
He’ll have individual aims for next season, one of which will be to improve on his tally in each of these areas.
He’ll want double figures in both columns and if he can achieve that, the manager coming in will have a very good chance of creating an exciting attack with threats coming at the opposition from different areas.
What Downing and the new boss need to do is settle on a role and position for him in the side, which should help him to improve on his consistency.
If he can feature in the same position and bear in mind the advice that Sheringham gave him before he took the leap into management, he should be up there in terms of West Ham’s best players next season.
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