Sometimes, a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered. Look no further than former Liverpool winger Stewart Downing, who has the opportunity to revitalize his career after signing with West Ham.
From The Guardian:
Stewart Downing has joined West Ham United for around £6m from Liverpool, agreeing a four-year contract at the Boleyn Ground, becoming the fifth signing of the summer for Sam Allardyce.
The manager is hoping to improve on last season's 10th-place finish following the club's return to the Premier League after promotion.
Allardyce has already purchased Downing's former team-mate, Andy Carroll, from Liverpool, with the Romania captain Razvan Rat, goalkeeper Adrian Castillo of Real Betis and Stockport County's Danny Whitehead also joining.
Downing never lived up to Liverpool's lofty expectations that came along with being a £20 million signing from Aston Villa in 2011. That season, he scored eight goals and added seven assists for the Villains.
In two seasons with Liverpool, he scored seven goals and added eight assists. And then there is this extremely telling statistic from his debut season with Liverpool, courtesy of WhoScored.com:
Stewart Downing: In the 2011/12 PL season, Downing had the most shots (72) without a goal and most key passes (55) without an assist #LFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 14, 2013
Or how about this one?
Stewart Downing: Has scored 3 goals from 123 shots (2.4% conversion) in 4671 minutes (nearly 78 hours) of PL football at Liverpool— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 12, 2013
Ouch. Not exactly the level of production the Reds paid for, huh?
But the English international has the talent to turn things around, and he should be improved in 2013-14. When he's on his game, he is a dangerous crosser who has an eye for goal. He works hard on the flank, can play on either side and has enough pace and ability on the ball to beat his defender.
Plus, paired with Carroll—who seemed to be revitalized at West Ham himself, scoring seven goals and adding four assists in 24 Premier League appearances last year—he'll have a big target to head home his crosses into the box.
And hey, if the hilarious Nick Frost is excited to have you on board it can't be all bad, right?
Stewart Downing is a great signing for West Ham! Over chuffed with that. #COYI— Nick Frost (@nickjfrost) August 13, 2013
There's a lot at stake for Downing this season. With the World Cup in Brazil next summer, Downing has to prove he's worthy of a spot on the English national team. And England has plenty of talent on the wing already, with players like Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Wilfried Zaha and Ashley Young, among others, all vying for playing time out wide.
Thus, he should be plenty motivated for West Ham this season.
Perhaps he can rediscover the form that stirred Liverpool to pay a pretty penny to pry him from Aston Villa. If he doesn't, he'll more than likely find himself either watching the event from the bench... or from his couch.