MX23RW : Tuesday, March 2 13:52:02| >> :60:3107:3107:

Slaven Bilic: 'I wanted Stewart Downing to stay at West Ham United'

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic reveals that he tried to persuade Stewart Downing to stay at the club rather than return to Middlesbrough.

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic has revealed that he did not want Stewart Downing to leave the club.

The 30-year-old winger returned to former side Middlesbrough on Thursday in a deal that could rise to £7m.

However, Bilic has admitted that he tried to talk the former England international into staying at Upton Park.

"I didn't want him to go," the Croatian is quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "He's a quality English player and I know how hard it is to get the quality ones. Of course I rate him, I tried to persuade him to stay with us."

Downing scored seven goals in 74 appearances for West Ham after arriving at the club from Liverpool in 2013.


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Stewart Downing in action for West Ham on December 7, 2014
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