It is a central position he reveals the West Ham boss always had earmarked for him and one he has thrived in, resulting in an England recall having not played for his country since Roy Hodgson’s first match at the helm against Norway in May 2012. “I played in Roy’s first game, went to the Euros and didn’t play at all,” Downing said. “After that, I wasn’t picked so I thought he had wanted to go in a new direction, a new type of player. “Maybe the younger players you’ve seen come into the squad a lot. “I’ve got no problems with that. Obviously it is a difficult decision for him to make, to pick 23 players. I understand that and my form probably at that time wasn’t good enough to be in. “I’m honest enough to say that but it just goes to show, if you keep playing well and your team is doing well, you’ve always got a chance of playing well.” Much was expected of the England winger when Kenny Dalglish forked out £20million to bring him to Anfield in the summer of 2011. However, Downing struggled to find his feet on Merseyside and under Dalglish’s successor, Brendan Rodgers, he was converted to a full-back. Stewart Downing called his time playing makeshift left-back for Liverpool the lowest moment of a career which is in the midst of a resurgence thanks to another positional change. It was a role the 30-year-old slotted into just so he could get back playing regularly, but it is not a time the midfielder, now with West Ham, remembers fondly. Asked if that was as bad as it got, Downing said: “Yeah, I think so. Obviously I was out of the team for me just to play, just to get back in the team, was a big thing. “But at left-back it was obviously difficult. It was a chance to get back in the team for me, so I obviously had to go along with it. I wasn’t happy playing at left-back. It’s not my natural position. “I knew from then that it was time for me to move. I was getting signals – other players were coming in and I am getting used at left-back rather than winger. “I think you know when the writing is on the wall for you at a club, so the West Ham move came at a good time for me. “It was a chance for me to go and play football regularly and play under a manager who wanted me play every week.” Downing is full of praise for West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, who he highlighted as not only being key to his move to east London but his recent, and somewhat surprising, resurgence. The Hammers’ 3-1 home defeat to Southampton in late August saw Allardyce move to a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Downing playing a more central, attacking role. Press Association
Junior libero Matt Douglas leads the USC men’s volleyball team with 211 digs on the season. Photo by Katie Chin | Daily TrojanThe No. 12 USC men’s volleyball team traveled to Honolulu for the Texaco Rainbow Warrior Classic last weekend.USC handily won its first two matches against two Division III programs: Juniata College and Stevens Institute of Technology. However, a hosting Hawaii team reasserted itself as the king of the island as it swept USC to win the championship. The Rainbow Warriors handed the Trojans their first loss of the season.The Men of Troy kicked off the tournament on Thursday against Juniata. In the match, USC secured the upper hand early and never looked back. They jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first set, then recorded 10 unanswered points in the second set. Trojan redshirt junior outside hitter Jack Wyett led the team with 14 kills, five digs and an ace. USC outperformed Juniata in every major team statistic, paving the way for a 3-0 sweep with scores of 25-19, 25-9 and 25-21.The following day, USC faced Stevens. Similar to the first match, USC cruised in the first set by building an early 5-0 lead and ultimately finishing the set 25-17. In the second set, USC rallied from a 17-21 deficit after freshman middle blocker Sam Lewis left with an ankle injury. The Men of Troy were led by a star performance from junior outside hitter Ryan Moss, as he added a career best of 21 kills along with seven digs, three blocks and three aces. The Trojans concluded the match victorious with a score of 3-1 (25-17, 27-25, 22-25, 25-18).No. 5 Hawaii validated its ranking by sweeping USC on the tournament’s final day (17-25, 20-25, 22-25). The Trojans’ 4-0 start was not enough for them to claim the first set, as Hawaii responded with six unanswered points to steal the lead. In the second set, it was Hawaii’s turn to open with an early lead. The Rainbow Warriors scored five unanswered points out of the gate and continued to outscore the Trojans throughout the remainder of the match. A major part of Hawaii’s success came by doubling USC’s hitting percentage from .479 to .207. Sophomore outside hitter Gianluca Grasso contributed 13 kills plus two digs while Lewis sat out due to his ankle injury.USC’s overall record now stands at 3-1. The Men of Troy will go on the road to No. 5 UC Irvine on Friday, followed by a Saturday home game against UC Santa Barbara at the Galen Center.
TURKEYIn the Turkish league now, Elderson Echiejile saw 46 minutes of action for Sivasspor who were defeated 0-2 at home by Kayserispor.The game was Echiejile’s 4th of the season for new Sivasspor.Another Eagles defender, Willam Troost Ekong was on from start to finish for Bursaspor as they recorded an emphatic 3-0 triumph over visiting Akhisar Belediyespor.24-year-old Ekong is enjoying some fresh regular top flight football with Bursaspor following his move from Ghent.New revelation, Michel Agu also saw 90 minute of action for Bursaspor in the victory.Aminu Umar was on for the first 45 minutes for Osmanlispor who lost their third game in four matches this season after going down with two un-replied goals from Goztepe.Meanwhile, Raheem Lawal was not listed in that fixture for Osmanlispor who are without a win this term.Ogenyi Onazi extended his national team form to club football as the combative midfielder scored his Trabzonspor’s third goal as they thrashed visiting Genclerbirligi 3-1 to go 4th on the Turkish league table.The goal was Onazi’s first of the season for Trabzonspor. ITALYIn the Italian Seria A, Joel Chukwuma Obi’s injury voodoo resurfaced as the forgotten Eagles midfielder was replaced in the 10thminutes in Torino’s lone goal victory over recently promoted Benevento.Obi who has made all three league appearances this season will be missing Torino’s next home fixture against Sampdoria.Meanwhile, Sadiq Umar watched the whole match duration from the substitute bench and is yet to make an appearance this campaign. GERMANYIn the German Bundesliga, the Nigerian duo Victor Osimhen and Noah Joel Bazee were both missing out for Wolfsburg and Hannover 96 respectively, in the their 1-1 stalemate at the Volksvagen Arena.28-year-old Leon Balogun was impressive for Mainz 05 as he saw the whole match duration in the Carnival club’s 3-1 home win against 17thplaced Bayer Leverkusen.The victory was Leon’s first of the season with Mainz which means they’re currently placed 13th after match day three on German the Bundesliga table. NETHERLANDSIn the Netherlands Eredevisie, Nigeria’s Tyronne Ebuehi saw 90 minutes of action for ADO Den Haag who recorded their first victory of the season, piping Willem II 1-2 away from home at the Koning WillemII stadium.The game was Tyronne’s th appearance of the season.At the Noordlease stadium, youth international, Kelechi Nwakali was the hero f the day for VVV Venlo as he came off the bench salvage a draw for his with late equalizer in their 1-1 draw against FC Groningen.Nwakali who is on loan from Arsenal was making his first appearance of the season in that same fixture. ENGLANDWe begin our voyage from the thrilling English premier league where brothers turned foes at the King Power stadium as Wilfred OnyinyeNdidi’s Leicester City faced off against Victor Moses’ Chelsea with the league champions snatching a 1-2 victory over their host.While Moses and Ndidi started for their various clubs respectively, Kelechi Iheanacho made a late entrance for the Foxes as Ahmed Musa whatched the entire match duration from the bench.The impressive Ndidi also received his first yellow card this term in the 84th minutes.From the King power now to the Emirate stadium where fit again Alex Iwobi was benched for 90 minutes for Arsenal who are looking back on form with a masterful, 3-0 dispatch of visitors, Bournemouth to record their second win in four games this campaign.21-year-old Iwobi who made 17 league appearances for Arsenal last season has only managed one substitute appearance for the Gunners this term.Isaac Success continued his bench role for impressive Watford as the Super Eagles forward was overlooked for selection in the Hornets impressive 0-2 away victory over Southampton at the Saint Marys.The former Granada forward who was considering a loan move away from is yet to make a single appearance so far this campaign in his second stint in the English premiership.￼CHAMPIONSHIPQuick dash to the English Championships now where Sone Aluko and Reading continued their poor run of form this term after their solitary goal loss at home to visitors Bristol City.The game was Aluko’s debut appearance for Reading following his move from Fulham.Nigeria’s Ola Aina saw 90 minutes of action for hapless Hull City as they were hammered with five un-replied goals in the hands of an unforgiving Derby County side at the Pride Park.Super Eagles midfielder, Hope Akpan was missing in action for Burton Albion as they suffered a 5-0 thrashing against Leeds united.Akpan has managed just three league appearances so far this season since he move away from relegated Blackburn Rovers. BELGIUMIn the Belgium pro league, former youth international, Abdul Ajagun featured in his 6thleague appearance for Kotrijk as the recorded their second draw of the season with a 2-2 tie against Zulte Varegem.At the Ghelamco Arena the Eagles duo of Moses Simon and Anderson Esiti were both in action for Ghent who were held to a 1-1 draw at home against rivals Genk.20-year-old forward Samuel Kalu who boosts of one goal this term was however, missing in action for Ghent.Former U17 sensation, Taiwo Awoniyi enjoyed 60 minutes of action for Royal Excel Mouscron who secured their 4th victory of the campaign with a 2-1 home win over Club Brugge.Super Eagles midfielder, Henry Uche Agbo and Standard Liege were held to barren stalemate by league leaders, Sporting Charleroi in their 6th fixture of the season.21-year-old Uche Agbo who recently joined Leige from relegated Granada in Spain was shown his first yellow card of the season in the 45th minute in the draw.Henry Chukwuma Onyekuru continued from where from where he left off last term after a brace in Anderlecht’s 3-2 hard fought victory over Lokeren at the Constant Vanden Stock.The former Eupen star is currently on loan with league champions, Anderlecht after he was signed by Everton during the summer transfer window. SPAINI take you to the Spanish La Liga where Manchester City loanee, Olanrewaju Kayode was a second half introduction for Girona but failed to help his team as they lost 2-0 away to inform Athletic Bilbao.Kayode who scored 17 goals last term in Austria is yet to open his goal account with Girona after three appearances. By: CHIDIEBERE ANUGWOLURelatedWilfred Ndidi Rated Top Passer in the EPLDecember 1, 2018In “England”Foreign LegionNovember 22, 2017In “National Team”Foreign Legion 25-09-2017September 25, 2017In “Features” CHINAFinally in the Chinese Super League, Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi and relegation threatened Tianjin Teda suffered 13th loss of the season with a 3-1 away loss in the hands second placed Shanghai SIPG at the Shanghai stadium.The fixture was Mikel’s 6th of the season following his long battle with injury.Odion Jude Ighalo played all match duration for the Changchun Yatai but could not bail his team from a 3-1 away loss to league leaders, Guangzhou Evergrande.28-year-old Ighalo can boost of 11 goals in 22 league appearances for Changchun who are placed 10th on the league table.Veteran Eagles forward Obafemi Martins was not listed for action for Shanghai Shenhua’s 1-2 home loss to Henan Jianye.