herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Downing aims to win for Sam

Stewart Downing insists West Ham's players love playing under Sam Allardyce and will be fighting for their manager's future in the final four games of the season.

"Even before I came here, Sam signed a new deal at the end of the season," Downing said.

"The only way to put the uncertainty to bed is to win games because that puts him in a better position."

"Hopefully he stays. We want him here. The players love playing for him. He's a really good manager to play for.

"He's been really good to me, I like him, but I don't make the decisions, it's up to the chairmen and how they see it going forward."

Allardyce appeared to be looking to the future at Loftus Road, where he handed 18-year-old academy graduate Reece Burke his Barclays Premier League debut.

Burke, who has made two first-team appearances in the cups and represented England Under-18s, replaced Winston Reid in central defence and Downing was impressed with the youngster's display.

"I thought he was brilliant," Downing said.

"The manager has said before it's hard to put a young lad in when the team isn't doing so well.

"He's waited a long time for his chance, he's done well for the youth team and has travelled a lot of times and not been involved.

"Someone went down with an injury late on and he's been thrown in - sometimes that's the best way - and he's proven that with his performance.

"Bobby Zamora has had a really good season and Charlie Austin has scored in almost every other game so Reece did really well.

"He's certainly in the mix for a starting place now, we know we can depend on him, the manager can put him in home and away and know he'll do a good job."

West Ham had goalkeeper Adrian to thank for their clean sheet, however, after the Hammers stopper kept out Austin's first-half penalty.

"He's made some big saves this season and he got my vote for player of the year," Downing said.

"It was a great save, Charlie has had a great season and nine times out of 10 he'd bury that penalty, but it was a good save and it kept us in the game."

ends

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