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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Downing facing three months out
Stewart Downing
Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing has been ruled out for at least three months after undergoing knee surgery.

The 21-year-old England winger had an operation to repair cartilage damage and faces a long period of recovery.

Middlesbrough coach Steve Round told the club website: "It's obviously a major blow, both for Stewart and the team, that he will be out for so long.

"I know Stewart would love to play in next year's World Cup and there's still every chance for him to do so."

Round added: "The squad for the finals won't be named until the end of the season.

"Stewart should be back and flying long before then, so he should set his mind on making a full recovery and getting back to his best. There's every chance he could make the squad."

Downing's rehabilitation begins next week when he is likely to undertake light work on an exercise bike.


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