Downing brushes off transfer talk

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Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has again emphasised his commitment to the club.

Downing seemed to have ended persistent speculation linking him with a move elsewhere when he signed a new five-year contract at the Riverside Stadium in February.

Yet with just over a month to go before the January transfer window opens, the 24-year-old has again been the subject of transfer gossip. But Downing said: "I signed a long-term deal last season. My only aim is to try to get into Europe with Middlesbrough."

Tottenham, the club most commonly linked with him, were this week reported to be preparing an £11million bid but the England international is determined to fulfil his ambitions with hometown Boro.

He added: "There is always going to be speculation about players and clubs, not only me. You have just got to black it out.

"If you concentrate on what the press are saying your form might dip. I will only concentrate on playing well for Middlesbrough."

Downing, who has earned 21 international caps, is yet to fully win over the England fans but he earned praise for his performance in last week's friendly win over Germany.

Downing now hopes to maintain his form at club level and help Boro into Europe this season.

"I took a lot of confidence from that England game," he said. "It was a good result and the performances were good.

"The other lads have done well with their national teams too and hopefully we can kick on and that will bode well for our team."

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