Middlesbrough chairman furious with Downing agent

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is angry with the agent of contract rebel Stewart Downing.

Gibson remains hopeful of persuading the club's Academy graduate to commit himself beyond the terms of his current contract, and has been less than impressed with his representative, Ian Elliott's handling of the situation.

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He told The Times: "Stewart is a smashing lad and we are delighted that he is at our club.

"Not only is he a fine player, he is a fine man as well and he is the kind of person we want here.

"He is midway through a five-year contract and we voluntarily entered contract negotiations with his agent at the start of this season.

"We made a substantial offer which reflects Stewart's status at our club and in our team.

"He (Elliott) has issued a statement which, when you study it, is an absolute contradiction. On one hand, it says Stewart wants to leave and then on the other, it says that Stewart will play out the remaining two-and-a-half years of his contract. Well, what is it to be?

"Stewart will have seven or eight years left at this level and the fact that he appears to have put his career in the hands of Ian Elliott is a source of concern for me because I don't think that's in Stewart's best interests."

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