Big Sam sends message to the board about Downing signing
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Allardyce feels the need to trumpet his signing
One of the big bones of contention between the board and manager Sam Allardyce was said to be the signing of winger Stewart Downing.
Former Liverpool wideman Downing was snapped up by Allardyce in a £6million deal, in preference to the purchase of striker Wilfried Bony, which certainly did not impress co-chairman David Sullivan.
Therefore, after a fine display and a goal for the 30-year-old Downing at Crystal Palace, Allardyce felt the need to trumpet his signing.
“He’s one of the best I’ve signed. His all-round game and qualities are fabulous,” said the West Ham boss.
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“There is always that one edge that we said we didn’t get last year which was to get a few more goals. But the way he has started this season I think that may be changing.”
It took Downing 36 games last season to break his scoring duck, this time round he has taken just two and Allardyce insisted that it may have come earlier.
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“He could have scored the winner last week against Tottenham but for a great save by the goalkeeper,” added the manager.
“He scored a brilliant goal against Palace and that will give him the confidence to go and get four or five for us this year.
“But his all-round game, there’s not a better player in our team who handles the ball, manipulates the ball, switches play, provides crosses and then gets back to protect the full back.
“He’s an outstanding player from those angles and if he can get a few more goals he will be even better.”
It is a bold statement for Allardyce to make to the board who questioned his judgement on transfers, but if Downing can continue to find the form he has shown so far this season, then there will be few who questions his judgement.