Downing Is Going Nowhere - Until January At Least!

Last updated : 01 June 2009 By Boro Mad
The England winger is recovering from a major foot operation and, according to chairman Steve Gibson, could be sidelined for "between four and six months".

Downing did not suffer a broken foot in the damaging challenge by Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, as has been widely reported.

In fact the tissue and ligaments were prised away from the bone during the challenge, which has necessitated a delicate operation to correct the problem.

Gibson: "Stewart is a gem as a person and as a footballer. We are lucky to have him.

"But football is such a short career. At this stage Stewart probably has five or six years left at the very top.

"Obviously the injury has come at an unfortunate time for him, but I have told him that if the right offer comes in then I will not stand in his way.

"Stewart is a top four player.

"I know that he will eventually find it sad to leave his hometown club, and as long as he remains here he will continue to enjoy his football.

"If a big club comes in I have given Stewart my word that I will not stand in his way."