Southgate denies Downing demanded Middlesbrough exit

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has denied reports suggesting England international Stewart Downing has asked for a transfer.

It had been reported that Downing had held talks with Southgate about leaving Teesside after growing tired of some fans' booing of him.

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However, Southgate hit back at the stories, telling the Evening Gazette: "He's never asked to leave. No way has he been in and asked me to leave - he's not been in to see me about anything.

"I spoke to him after last weekend's game, but that's all.

"All I have expressed to him this week is the belief I have in him as a player, and that he has produced time and time again for us. The stick he has taken, he takes it on the chin.

"His heart is here and he is a young player who has been a terrific talent for us and has got us so many points and scored us so many goals and created so many goals for us - he is a match-winner for us."

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