Liverpool’s new winger Stewart Downing is ready for a big season at Anfield, and has said that he is confident of coping with the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
Kenny Dalglish forked out £20 million for the 27-year-old in July – in the current squad only Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez cost Liverpool more – but the England man isn’t feeling the burden of the price tag
“I'm here now and I'm happy that it's all done. Kenny has obviously spent a large amount to get me here which is something I am proud and feel privileged about," said the former Middlesbrough wide man.
“I just want to keep playing like I did for Aston Villa last season and carry on my good form.
“I won't do anything differently. Just because it was a big fee doesn't mean I should change. I was brought here to do what I did at Aston Villa. I just want to do my best for Liverpool."
But Downing accepted that there was pressure on the whole club to perform, after five years without silverware and a sluggish sixth place finish last year, ruling them out of the UEFA Champions League football this term.
“It's a big season for me personally and for the club. I want to play well on a regular basis," he continued.
“There's no hiding the fact that this club has high expectation. It's a club that deserves to be in Europe.
“In the past they've done very well and I'm sure the players and manager will want to do well for the owners and get back into that top bracket. We've certainly got the squad now."
But Downing has a slow burning ambition. He added that there was no rush, and that the Reds were slowly building up a squad capable of big things under manager Kenny Dalglish.
“If I can win as many trophies as possible that would be perfect. The long-term ambition is probably to win the league. Obviously that won't happen overnight, it's a building process," he concluded.
“Hopefully this is the start of it, adding these new players to the ones who are already here. I'm sure we've got a top squad and think we can do very well.”