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Stewart Downing: 'Middlesbrough promotion is big incentive'

Stewart Downing admits that the prospect of winning promotion to the Premier League with Middlesbrough was a greater incentive than remaining at West Ham United.

Stewart Downing has admitted that the prospect of winning promotion to the Premier League with Middlesbrough was more of an incentive than staying with West Ham United.

The 31-year-old winger dropped down to the Championship to rejoin his boyhood club for £5.5m earlier this summer, despite West Ham boss Slaven Bilic reportedly wanting to keep hold of him.

"I really wanted something to play for," Downing told BBC Tees. "At West Ham where could we realistically finish? Ninth or 10th? Even last season we did well but finished 12th.

"It's a good challenge for me [at Boro]. It's a big thing to play for promotion at the end of the season and it would be a massive achievement.

"It's difficult for Slaven, in his first week of the job, but he didn't convince me enough to stay."

Downing has made seven appearances for Boro so far this season.

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Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough v Bristol City at Riverside Stadium on August 22, 2015
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