He has become the third oldest member of Roy Hodgson’s England squad and revealed that although he really believed his chance had passed him by, he’s back and ready to make an impact for the 30 plusses.
Speaking ahead of the matches against Slovenia and Scotland, he said: “I’ve admitted in the past I felt my chance had passed, but I kept going and always kept trying to play well. It has paid off.
“There is a lot of new talent coming through. It’s an exciting squad. I’m the third oldest so I do feel a bit old, but he’s (Hodgson) “got a good mixture here.”
Downing accepts his form at Liverpool did not warrant a call-up and, after joining West Ham last year, believes the move into a central role has been the key to his resurgence.
“Roy has been impressed with how we’ve adapted to a new way of playing,” he said of West Ham’s impressive start to the campaign. “That’s why he’s called me up.
“I need to maintain that form. I spoke to Roy a couple of times. At West Ham games he’s been in the changing room with the manager and we spoke very briefly. He said ‘yes, you’re going to get in the squad’.
“I’m here to play and perform, not just make the numbers up. I’m itching to get out there.”