Downing returns to Middlesbrough

The career of Stewart Downing has come full circle after he left Premier League club West Ham to rejoin Championship outfit Middlesbrough.

Stewart Downing has rejoined boyhood club Middlesbrough on a four-year-deal after the Championship side agreed an undisclosed fee with West Ham.

Versatile midfielder Downing came through the youth ranks at Middlesbrough, and left for Aston Villa in a reported £12million deal in 2009.

The 30-year-old later joined Liverpool, but endured a difficult spell on Merseyside and moved to Upton Park in August 2013.

"It's great to be back home - I always said I wanted to come back to this club and I'm delighted the chance has now come," Downing told Boro's official website.

"I didn't put a time limit on it but now the circumstances are right. 

"There was a shout about me coming back here on loan when I was at Liverpool, but for one reason or another it didn't happen. But now I'm here, and I'm absolutely buzzing. 

"This is a good time to be coming back to Boro, and hopefully I can enjoy another four to five years playing at the top."

Downing was one of the standout performers for West Ham as they climbed to fourth in the Premier League by Christmas last season, and his form earned him a recall to the England team where he earned his 35th cap against Scotland in November.

West Ham tailed off to finish 12th, though, and Downing has been allowed to return to the Riverside Stadium to help Boro's challenge for promotion next season.