Downing will be like Hamann (signed for Newcastle by Kenny for those who didn't know!) for us, not the name everyone was after, moving from a rival Prem club, but one of the first signings to settle and a regular from there on. If he was foreign and people had seen Youtube compilations rather than MOTD he'd be popular. Funnily enough many would rather sign someone with a worse record from a different league. My own knowledge of Downing this season comes from having watched 6-7 full Villa league games (number i can guarantee i sat through the full 90 minutes of), highlights, and all the other bits and pieces we pick up, plus a healthy dose of stats. I initially was focusing on Ashley Young because of fantasy football but was immediately more impressed with Downing, despite rooting for Young, and have consistently been impressed since. Reasons why Downing is a great option: 1. He has played pretty much every league game (plus cup games). It is very rare for a winger to be so robust, but since he became a Middlesborough regular in 2006/07 his league starts are as follows: 06/07- 34 07/08- 38 08/09- 37 09/10- 23 10/11- 38 2. This season he put in the 2nd most crosses in the league. Hmm i wonder whether N'Zogbia, who averages about 9-10 attempted dribbles per game, or Stuart Downing- who keeps getting the crosses in- will get the best out of our big Â£35million no.9? 3. Mentality- Stuart Downing is never caught up in problems with teammates or off pitch scandals. He clearly has his head screwed on. He works hard for the team. He never seems to complain and has only recently spoken of a desire to move to a team more likely to challenge at the top end. 4. He's English- handy for the Home Grown rules, and Kenny's idea of building a strong English core (perhaps based on the set-up at Barca who are Spanish dominated). 5. 7 goals and 7 assists in the league this season, only one of which was from a set piece (1 assist from a corner), whereas most of the more popular names have similar or worse stats and are often the free kick and penalty takers for their respective teams. 6. Winner of Villa Fans', Players' and Sponsor's Player of the Year. Absolute clean sweep and i'm sure there's plenty of people who would tell us Ashley Young is a better signing (yawn). 7. Paaaaaaaace. He's rapid, you only have to watch his goals this season to see him leave defenders for dead, which maybe some had forgotten after his time in centre midfield (versatile). 8. He can play on the right and do the Adam Johnson 'inverted' winger thing or play as a classic left winger, handy when we want Suarez on that left side. I recommend you watch his goals and assists from this season as evidence: There are a couple of overseas players that i think would be great to get as well as Downing, however he would clearly be a very good option for us. The Manchester favoring press are clearly going to sing Ashley Young's praises, and someone who is the head-down hardworking type like Downing will just never get as much coverage, but we must remember that just because everyone is slating the state of our national teams does not automatically mean all English players are rubbish. Capello said he was the player that most impressed him when he first took charge of England, and i believe if that hadn't coincided with Middlesbrough's relegation and O'Neill moving him to center mid, then he would have had a few more caps. So come on then lads, have i converted any of you? Or are you at least less worried by his signing?