Stewart Downing: Middlesbrough sign West Ham winger

Stewart Downing
Stewart Downing made 234 appearances for Middlesbrough during his first spell

Winger Stewart Downing has rejoined hometown club Middlesbrough on a four-year deal, stepping down a division from Premier League side West Ham.

The 30-year-old will join the club's Marbella training camp on Friday after completing a deal worth £5.5m that could rise to £7m if Boro are promoted.

Downing, capped 35 times by England, left the Riverside for Aston Villa in July 2009, before moving to Liverpool.

"Nobody expected him to come here," said Boro boss Aitor Karanka.

"He wants to be here and is completely committed to the club and the team. It's an amazing signing for us. He's more than just a player."

New West Ham boss Slaven Bilic said on Thursday night that he wanted to keep Downing at Upton Park and that he "was counting on him big time."

Downing, who joined the Hammers in 2013 and made 37 league appearances last season, said there were "other options on the table" but it was "great to be back home".

He added: "I always said I wanted to come back to this club. I didn't put a time limit on it, but now the circumstances are right.

"It would be the biggest achievement of my career if I could help us get back into the Premier League."

Middlesbrough's new singing Stewart Downing
Downing said there was a chance of him joining Boro on loan from Liverpool during his spell at Anfield

Since making his professional debut for the Teessiders in May 2002, he has made 493 appearances in all competitions, scoring 50 goals.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Woodgate, 35, has agreed a deal to remain with Boro after considering retirement at the end of last season.

Karanka said: "He knows his role will be a bit different. He wants to come here to help us get promotion."

Middlesbrough narrowly missed out on the Premier League last season as they were beaten by Norwich City in the Championship play-off final at Wembley in May.

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