Southgate: Downing the man to lead

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Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has no qualms about asking Stewart Downing to lead the club's fight for Barclays Premier League survival.

The 24-year-old was appointed captain in the absence of the injured Emanuel Pogatetz for last weekend's vital victory over Hull and will wear the armband again in Saturday's equally crucial showdown with Fulham at the Riverside Stadium.

He said: "Stewart is our longest-serving player, really. He has been our most senior player for the games he has captained. But I just think Stewart gets a lift out of captaining the team as well."

He added: "Tuncay [Sanli] is somebody who could quite comfortably captain the side and has been a real heartbeat for the team as well, so I thought long and hard about it.

"That young group that are in the side at the moment, there are potentially some very good leaders there and they will learn a lot from this next few weeks."

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Stewart Downing
Premier League
Emanuel Pogatetz
Gareth Southgate
Hull City

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