Downing: I won't spit dummy out if I'm dropped
Winger 'can handle Pool pressure'
STEWART DOWNING admits it would have been easy to "spit the dummy" and look for excuses after a testing start to his Liverpool career.
However, the England international has knuckled down on the training ground and believes he has come through his rough patch. The £20m signing from Aston Villa was the most expensive of Kenny Dalglish's seven summer arrivals but after a promising start performances began to fade.
Downing found what had been a regular place in the starting line-up more difficult to come by but insists there were no complaints from him.
"The easy thing is to spit the dummy out and point out everything around that is going wrong," said the 27-year-old.
"I have had some good games and some indifferent games and I have been on the bench sometimes when I have been used to playing every week. That has been a bit hard getting used to but I have adapted quite well, I think. But the only thing you can do is keep training well.
"If you are not training well you won't be picked - Kenny addressed that on day one.
"You have to train well if you are in the team or not: you have to be ready when called upon.
"Kenny sees everything. He watches training day in, day out.
"If you are not performing or you start spitting the dummy out you will not be playing so there is no point doing that.
"You have got to play well and be ready when he picks you and give him problems - reasons to keep picking you."
Downing admits the level of criticism he has received in recent weeks came as no surprise as he fully understands the exacting standards which are required at Anfield.
"There is a lot more pressure here - but not as big as it has been.
"You are under the microscope every day, people are pointing but that is Liverpool, that is why you want to be here.
"You have got to blank that out. It is challenging every week, it pushes you on as a player - to play in finals."
Downing will be hoping for that opportunity on Sunday when Liverpool face npower Championship side Cardiff in the Carling Cup final - the Reds' first for five years.
The winger has been involved in two previous League Cup finals, watching from the bench as Middlesbrough beat Bolton and then playing in Aston Villa's defeat to Manchester United.