Downing back to his best - Southgate

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Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate dispatched Stewart Downing to England duty convinced the winger is back to his very best form.

Downing, named in the national team's squad to face Germany on Wednesday in Berlin, created his side's goal in the 1-1 draw at Everton with an inch-perfect crossfield pass for Gary O'Neil to supply the finishing touch.

"Downing's pass was outstanding for the goal we scored, it was perfectly weighted. He looks back to his best in the last couple of games," said Southgate.

"That is great to see away from home especially, because the mark of a player is how they perform on their travels.

"Everyone can play at home, but he made a great contribution.

"To do that was important for him. He did a good defensive job too on Phil Neville, who is a good outlet for Everton down the wing."

Southgate had more to be happier about than opposite number David Moyes, who has seen his side win only one home league match this season.

The Middlesbrough manager, whose side have gone five undefeated since their 5-0 home defeat by Chelsea, added: "We played very well in the first half but we needed a second goal in that spell to see us through.

"We did well on the break, but we didn't pass the ball well enough. We showed some different characteristics in this one, we had to roll our sleeves up and defend the box.

"We defended a lot of stuff in the air and we stood up to the physical challenge because Everton are a big, strong side. We showed we are capable of digging in and getting something from the game."

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Stewart Downing
Gary O'Neil
Gareth Southgate
Phil Neville

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