Downing embarrassed by debut season

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Liverpool midfielder Stewart Downing has admitted he felt embarrassed after he ended his debut season at Anfield without scoring.

Downing's disappointment was compounded further, as the 27-year-old was also unable to manage an assist in a year that the £20million man would rather forget.

Signed by Kenny Dalglish last summer, Downing was expected to provide strike duo Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez with the ammunition to fire Liverpool into the higher echelons of the Premier League.

But such success was nothing more than a pipe dream, and Downing has now turned his attention towards rediscovering his best form at the European Championships with England.

The former Aston Villa winger was the only outfield player to feature in all nine England games in 2011, playing in two out of three matches this year for the Three Lions.

And, despite his poor form, Downing is in contention to start the Group D opener against France on Monday.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Downing said: "The fact is I didn't get enough goals.

"I hit the post and the bar many times and missed a few chances so I was disappointed, especially when I scored goals for Aston Villa the year before.

"Sometimes you are on a run and get goals; sometimes you don't. I try to score and maybe next season I will get 10 or 15. Football is like that. But I am disappointed I did not score enough."

Whilst Downing admits to being embarrassed about his lack of goals and assists for Liverpool this season, he insists that too much should not be read into statistics, as they can prove to be misleading.

"Statistics have taken over the game: he doesn't score this, he hasn't set up that. You can read into it as you like," he said. "I've constantly set up chances, season in and season out.

"I can't be criticised for not creating. I've just been unlucky that we've not finished the chances."

Liverpool's season was equally disappointing, as Dalglish's side stumbled to an eighth-place finish with their home form particularly concerning.

Yet, following the late introductions of Jordan Henderson and Martin Kelly, the Reds supply six members of Roy Hodgson's England squad - almost a third of the outfield men.

But Downing is quick to defend his under-fire teammates. He added: "I don't think those six players did that bad - just that, as a whole group, we were not clinical enough. It's all about personal opinions.

"If there were eight Manchester United players in the team and they didn't win the league, would people be asking why they are here?

"As players we have to be mentally strong and concentrate on the good bits of our games because the manager has seen something that shows why we've been picked."

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Stewart Downing
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