Stewart Downing: Keep the critics quiet

Don’t let the touchline tormentors get inside your head, says the tricky Middlesbrough playmaker

“I play in front of a few hundred supporters as a semi-pro and our own fans have given me some stick during a bit of bad form. How do you handle that?”
Daniel Navarrete, via Twitter

More after the break

Stewart Downing says:

“When you start as a young lad, it’s all rosy. Then after six or seven weeks you may have a dip in form, and it does affect you. But careers go up and down, so try to block out any negativity.

You’ve got to have self-belief. When things are not going well, think: ‘It will turn.’ If you’re losing at home and the crowd are edgy and something you try doesn’t come off, they might boo or shout, but you’ve got to be brave and keep trying.

“When you’re getting abuse from the opposition fans it’s because they see you as a threat. You have just got to take it as a bit of fun.

“You get players that will kick you and try to intimidate you, but they are doing it for a reason – they’re trying to put you off your game.

“You’ve just got to get on with it and not react, because that’s what they want. If you don’t react, it deflects the pressure onto them.”

Downing is speaking with Adidas’ #ThereWillBeHaters campaign. Join the conversation @adidasUK

For more football tips see:
Diego Costa: Silence those boo boys
Feed off crowd abuse
How to deal with a mouthy player
How to deal with a wind-up merchant

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