Rodgers asks Downing to play left-back

Stewart Downing, Liverpool wingerLiverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that he sees Stewart Downing’s long-term future as a full-back, not a left winger.

The England international has not made a major impact at Anfield since moving to Merseyside from Aston Villa last summer, and as such has been linked with an exit from the club.

However, Rodgers has admitted that Downing will stay at the side as long as diversifies his position.

“I think it is a big possibility that he can play there,” the Northern Irish manager is quoted as saying in The Guardian.

“If you look at the modern-day full-backs, Jordi Alba, Ashley Cole – Ashley Cole was a centre-forward. When I bring young players through, I will always bring attackers because they can move back. When Middlesbrough reached the Uefa Cup final against Sevilla, he played left-back on that run.

“Sometimes it can release the pressure on players. His job at the top end of the pitch is to create and score goals. But you looked at him in the half-hour against Hearts, he served the ball well, he got forward and defended a couple of times. That is important.

“I think he is good enough for that. Absolutely. Time will tell. I don’t like to just give up on players. I always look at different ways you can play them. Stewart has a future as an attacking player but I have had a good chat with him on the role and he is excited about it. That is the biggest thing,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight