Liverpool winger Stewart Downing is planning to make an impact for both club-and-country this season.
The £20 million summer signing has made an impressive start to life at Anfield following the switch from Aston Villa, featuring in all three Barclays Premier League matches for the Reds this term.
Delighted with his form after settling quickly on Merseyside, the former Middlesbrough midfielder now aims to secure his starting spot for Kenny Dalglish's side, as well as forcing his way into the Three Lions set-up.
"Compared to clubs I've been at in the past, expectations are high here. You're expected to win games week-in, week-out. Playing in a big squad and fighting for my place will bring the best out of me," said the winger.
"We've got the squad to challenge for the title but it's going to be difficult. Still, we have a hell of a chance of being in that leading pack."
"My big aim is to do well for Liverpool and prove I'm good enough to not only be in England's squad but in the team too. I'm certainly more confident now. Liverpool are playing well and I'm happy with my form."
The sheer size of the club is something that's taken Downing by surprise since his move from the Midlands, with the global fan-base evident during the club's pre-season tour of Asia and Europe.
Back home, and Downing recognises a buzz amongst the Liverpool fans after a good start to the season, and the weight of expectation continues to grow under 'King Kenny'.
“Everywhere we go there seems to be a lot of fans. No disrespect, but I didn’t have that at other clubs. I didn’t realise we had so many fans based abroad. It shows you it’s a big football club," said the 27-year-old.
“I’ve met a lot of the fans and the people and can sense a buzz around the place. They ask about the players, about who is fit and the season. They’re very nice people, very genuine.
“With the money the owners have spent and the way we’ve started, you can understand that. We’ve now got to carry it on and give them something to cheer about.
“It’s absolutely brilliant playing at Anfield. When I played against Liverpool you always sensed the atmosphere. They don’t half get behind their team.”
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