Liverpool winger Stewart Downing still fears for his future at the Anfield club, despite coming a regular under Brendan Rodgers in recent weeks.
The Reds signed Downing for £20million from Aston Villa in 2011 and many feel he has failed to live up to that price tag.
His first season in a Liverpool shirt saw him finish without a single Premier League goal or assist and Rodgers openly admitted the 28-year-old was fighting for his future.
However, Downing seems to have won Rodgers’ trust for now as he has been starting more regularly and he admits the blunt approach taken by the former Swansea City boss could have a lot to do with his recent improvement.
“I was disappointed when I was told by the manager I could leave,” the former Middlesbrough winger is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
“It looked like my chance had gone. The team was doing OK and I wasn’t even getting on the bench at times.
“I had a situation where I could have left. But I didn’t want to and the only way to stay was to get into the team and do well.
“I just needed that chance and luckily enough I got that in the weeks after that conversation.
“I’m happy with how it’s going at the minute, but whether that changes in the summer I don’t know.”
Liverpool signed Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan in the transfer window, meaning greater competition for Downing’s place.
The England midfielder accepts it will be tough to secure a starting XI place now and is realistic about what it could mean for his long-term future at the club.
However, Downing insists he is ready for the challenge and will do all he can to make sure Rodgers cannot drop him, a situation he claims he thrives in.
“He [Rodgers] strengthened again in January with people who can play in my position, so the only thing I can do is if I keep playing well so he can’t leave me out, basically; that’s how I see it,” he added.
“Every time I play is a chance to prove him wrong and to show him I am worthy of a place in the team.
“The good thing about the manager is you know where you stand. You play well you’re in the team, if you don’t you’re out of the door. It’s as simple as that. That’s the way I like to be managed.”
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