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Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 16:39 UK

Downing joins Villa in 12m move

Stewart Downing
Downing has been at Middlesbrough since his schooldays

Aston Villa have signed England winger Stewart Downing for £12 million on a four-year deal from Middlesbrough.

The 24-year-old agreed personal terms and passed a medical at Villa Park on Thursday and becomes manager Martin O'Neill's first signing of the summer.

Downing told the Villa website: "I wanted to come as soon as I met Martin so I'm delighted it's now sorted out.

"As an outsider looking in, it was obvious Villa are a club on the up. I want to be part of that."

Downing made 181 League appearances for home-town club Middlesbrough after making his debut in 2002.

He injured his foot, ironically against Villa, in the last game of the season and following surgery is likely to be out of action until October at the earliest.

His future at Boro had been the subject of much speculation since the club's relegation to the Championship in May.

Downing signed a new five-year deal at the Riverside Stadium in February 2008 and although he had a written transfer request rejected in January chairman Steve Gibson said he would not stand in the way of a move if the club went down.


Downing told Middlesbrough's website: "I want to play at next year's World Cup so that's my aim - to get back to full fitness, get back playing and get myself in the England team for the World Cup.

"I loved the last World Cup, but I want to play a bigger part this time. I have to be with a good Premier League side if I want to do that."

Downing insisted he was sad to leave Middlesbrough, where he came through the junior ranks.

"I hope the fans understand that I'm ambitious and want to win things and this move gives me a chance of that. But I'll always be a Boro fan," he added.

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see also
Southgate braced for player exits
25 May 09 |  Middlesbrough
Boro rule out Downing departure
07 Jan 09 |  Middlesbrough
Downing signs new Boro contract
26 Feb 08 |  Middlesbrough

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