I thought Stewart was brilliant today, in every aspect of the game. I spoke to Stewart about six or seven weeks ago and we had an honest conversation about where he was at. He’s in his late 20s, he was an England international a few years ago and he wasn’t playing [regularly for Liverpool]. So we spoke about how he could get into the team. And I think his reaction from that moment, like it has been for Jose Enrique and one or two of the others, has been outstanding. His goal today was a fantastic strike and he combines very well with Glen Johnson out on the right side because he clears space for Glen to run into. Stewart’s movement is really intelligent and his pass for Steven’s goal was superb. You’ll find with attacking players, because their job is always to take people on, if it’s not quite happening for them, they need that bit of support. But all they can do is work hard. Stewart has played a lot of games. He’s a very important member of our group at the minute and if he keeps performing like that, hopefully he’ll establish himself in [the side] and show the talent he clearly has. If he keeps playing like that, he’ll be going nowhere - he’ll be staying in the team and that’s what it’s about.
I’ve been to see him and I’ve found it very helpful. In football anything you can add or bring which can benefit us in any sort of way is something that I am happy to have. Steve really is an incredible person. The things he has done in his career are very impressive. Spending time with someone like him can only rub off on you in a good way. I’m not sure if the mental side of the game is more important these days but it’s certainly something that plays a part in how you play. I think it’s pretty obvious to see when you have someone on the pitch who is in a good frame of mind. When a player is brimming with confidence you certainly see a difference in his performance. You only have to look at some of the people Steve has worked with. It’s something we will utilise and I’m sure he will help us all over the course of the season.
Joe Allen on working with Dr Steve Peters
(maybe he can have a word with Stewart Downing too. It couldn’t hurt right?)
It was a wonderful strike by Stewart and he scored a great goal. It’s been difficult for him since he’s been here. I think [telling him to approach the Kop] was just something to help his confidence. I think the Kop recognised it was a wonderful bend on the strike and if he can get a round of applause from them, then that would mean a lot to anyone; to a player, manager or a coach and you saw how they reacted accordingly - they gave him a great round of applause and that will hopefully do him well going forward. His commitment tonight was excellent. He had to play in a different position in the second half but he’s got the qualities to do that. It was a good night for us.