Stewart Downing backed for more England caps

Stewart Downing England

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes that Stewart Downing will get further opportunities to stake a claim for a regular spot in the England set-up.

Downing has impressed in claret and blue this season as Allardyce has opted to use him in a new number 10 role.

The former Liverpool and Aston Villa man has excelled in that position to help the Hammers up to a lofty fourth position in the Premier League.

The performances of the midfielder led to a call-up by Roy Hodgson for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia and the friendly against Scotland.

The 30-year-old was given his chance with a start against the Scots but failed to reproduce his club form and was taken off at half time.

Allardyce has defended his man by claiming that he was carrying a knock in the game and expects that can remain in contention for future selection.

Allardyce said: “He had an injury in the first half which restricted his movement. I watched the game and I didn’t see him do anything wrong.

“I know people have criticised his performance but I thought he did okay. He certainly hasn’t blown his chances of further international call-ups.”

The Hammers boss has admitted that he may be forced to rest Downing when Premier League action resumes this weekend with a trip to Everton who are priced at 19.00 to win the Europa League.

He added: “We need to be careful with Stewart as we need to look at the fixture list coming up.

“If we were to risk a player on Saturday and he aggravates it he could be out for two or three weeks.

“If you lose a player for two or three weeks that’s four or five games, so we have to be careful about the assessment.”

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