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Downing given a deadline to improve

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Stewart Downing has been challenged to show that he has the desire necessary to play for Liverpool Football Club.

That message had been delivered in private and Brendan Rogers has now given public notice that the winger, or any other player, will be moved on unless they can demonstrate their willingness to fight for a first team place.

Downing, signed for £20 million from Aston Villa during the summer of 2011, had been subject to a lengthy pursuit by more than one Anfield manager.

However, without an assist or goal in the Premier League last term and having seen others preferred in wide positions so far this season, the winger is at a pivotal point of his career.  

So far his contributions to the Liverpool attack have been poor.  

"Stewart is a good guy and a good lad who came here for an awful lot of money," Rodgers said.

"It hasn't quite worked out for him as he would want it. The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause to fight, because he has the qualities. He has a wonderful left foot but what is important is that it is more than talent. Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard, you have to fight for the shirt.

"We have seen that in a number of the young players and if you don't do that then longer-term you won't be here. It is as simple as that really."

Earlier in the month Rodgers suggested that the England international may have to consider being deployed as a left sided defender.

That option seems to be receding too and the Liverpool boss appeared to give a deadline for visible improvements to be made. 

He added: "What is important is that you have good communication.

"I don't waste my time waiting until January to tell both players what I know now. So they know in relation to the demands of what we want and certainly what it is going to take for us to succeed and for them to fit into the dynamics of the group.

"We are coaches, not magicians. For me football players are no different to plumbers, joiners or bricklayers. They are self-employed and us as medics, coaches and managers are the tools that help them to be better. We will give them everything to help them to be better, but if they don't want to show that self-motivation, and if you haven't got that desire and hunger to succeed, then it can be very difficult for you.

"The communication I will keep private between Stewart and I, but he is under no illusions that he has to fight."



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