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Southgate rules out Downing sale

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We don't want to sell our best players - Southgate

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has insisted Stewart Downing will not be leaving the club in January.

The 24-year-old England winger has been linked with a 15m move to Tottenham in the forthcoming transfer window.

But when asked what Boro would do if a "big" club tried to sign Downing, Southgate replied: "We'll worry about that scenario as and when it happens.

"He's not a player we're looking to leave and we're not looking to lose our better players - that's key for us."

Downing signed a new five-year deal with Boro in Feburary but at the weekend Spurs boss Harry Redknapp spoke of his admiration for the player.

"We're not in position where we want to sell our players, especially to teams that are close to us," added Southgate.

606: DEBATE
The man with the moderately attractive face

"We need to keep the players we've got, work with the squad we've got and climb the table with those players.

"What we're hoping to do is put a lid on things as early as we can and say we're not looking to move players on and hopefully we haven't got the speculation going on right throughout January."

Boro's 1-0 defeat by Manchester United on Monday left Southgate's side one place above the relegation zone and level on points with third-from-bottom Stoke.

Boro held out impressively for 69 minutes at Old Trafford before succumbing to Dimitar Berbatov's volley.

"I thought there were a lot of good things about that performance," said Southgate, whose side have not won in eight games.

"We were very disappointed how we played on Friday (in the 1-0 defeat by Everton) and it was important to restore some pride.

"I thought we were quite bright in a lot of our play, we were very resilient and our keeper has made some good saves but generally our discipline in terms of tactics was good.

"Our quality in the final third was what let us down. We got in some good positions and made some good breaks but didn't make the most of the situations we were in and didn't really test the keeper.

"Today was really about giving a performance that gives us some belief going forward. I thought that did, which was important, because it's what we do from here on in that matters."

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see also
Man Utd 1-0 Middlesbrough
29 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Man Utd v Middlesbrough as it happened
29 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Monday's football photos
29 Dec 08 |  Football
Tottenham back out of Defoe move
27 Dec 08 |  Tottenham
Downing oozes class - Southgate
21 Nov 08 |  Middlesbrough
Downing signs new Boro contract
26 Feb 08 |  Middlesbrough


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