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Former Liverpool midfielder takes swipe at Brendan Rodgers

Stewart Downing

Former Liverpool midfielder Stewart Downing has taken a swipe at former Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers.

The 35-year-old, who is now at Blackburn Rovers, played under Rodgers for a couple of seasons before being sold to West Ham for a fee believed to be around £5million in 2013, £15million less than what Liverpool paid for him 2 years earlier.

Commenting on playing under Rodgers, Downing told The Training Ground Guru Podcast: “The second year at Liverpool with Brendan was strange really. I didn’t get the feeling at the start that he wanted me, maybe because I was a Kenny [Dalglish] signing.

“There was one point when he questioned our commitment, me, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique, which was strange, because I’d been in his office two days before that and nothing got said.

“I was under pressure already, the £20m signing, so I didn’t need more in the press. My commitment has never been questioned by any manager. I said: ‘If you’ve got something to say you should say it to my face.’

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“I thought: ‘He’s not wanting me’ but I worked hard, got in the team and we got on after that.

“At the end of the season he told me he wanted to stay, but then the club accepted an offer from West Ham for me.

“I spoke to Big Sam and he said ‘Obviously the manager wants you to go Stew, otherwise the team wouldn’t have accepted the offer’. It would have helped if they’d done it in a better way.

“If he’d just said ‘It’s time for you to go, I want new players in,’ it would have been ok. Brendan was a young manager learning his way, but I prefer a straight-talking, face-to-face conversation.

“That’s why I liked playing for Kenny, Martin [O’Neill] and Big Sam, because they were straight-talking men.

“Just be honest with players.”