Blackburn's Stewart Downing explains why he didn't join Rangers

Steven Gerrard, manager of Rangers on the side line during the Pre-Season Friendly between Rangers FC and Blackburn Rovers at Ibrox Stadium on July 21, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Blackburn Rovers snapped up former Middlesbrough winger Downing despite interest from Scottish Premiership challengers Rangers.

Stewart Downing of Blackburn Rovers and Gevaro Nepomuceno of Oldham during the Carabao Cup First Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Oldham Athletic at Ewood Park on August 13, 2019...

Stewart Downing has admitted to the Gazette that he held talks with Rangers manager Steven Gerrard before sealing a move to Blackburn Rovers instead.

At the end of June, a 35-year-old England international dropped into the free agent pool after his second spell at boyhood club Middlesbrough came to an end.

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And speculation quickly arose that Downing could be on his way to Ibrox to reunite with his former England and Liverpool team-mate Gerrard.

 

Though given that Rangers had already sealed deals for Jordan Jones and Jake Hastie while attempting to lure Sheyi Ojo to Glasgow from Liverpool, the veteran wideman decided that Scotland simply wasn’t a viable destination in the autumn of his career.

“(Rangers) was another option. I know Steven (Gerrard) so I spoke to him but he had a few players already in the pipeline and I need to play games,” Downing said.

Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Middlesbrough at KCOM Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Hull, England.

“He already had a big squad at Rangers – would I have played as many games as I would liked to? I don't know. At Blackburn I will be involved a lot more and that was the main decision to go there.”

Downing has probably made the right call. His experience could have been vital to a Rangers side looking to win the Scottish Premiership title for the first time in almost a decade but a player with 35 England caps to his name wants to make the most of his final few years in the game.

Downing scored his first goal for Blackburn in the 3-2 EFL Cup win against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday, fizzing a long-range shot into the bottom corner.

Blackburn Rovers' Stewart Downing during the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Blackburn Rovers at Craven Cottage on August 10, 2019 in London, England.

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