For Downing to fulfill his ambitions with England, the 24-year-old believes he has to be playing his club football in the top half of The Premier League and not still fighting to avoid relegation in the last month of the season, as Boro are currently.
"We need to be up in the league and challenging," said Downing.
"That is what I want to do and that is why I signed.
"If we don't, it is something to think about.
"I am 24 and have been here a lot of years but we have only got to seventh once and to Europe two years running.
"When you play for England, you have to play at the top or you lose your place.
"So, a couple of years, then see how we go."