Stewart Downing has confirmed that retirement is his next move following his release from the Rovers.
The Lancashire Telegraph has revealed Downing plans to continue playing or coaching after his release from the Rovers, which ended in a stint with the Under-23s.
Downing has now said hanging up his boots was his most likely move after a season in which he only made two starts for the Rovers after a return in November.
It came after a more productive yearlong period in 2019/20 which saw him make 43 appearances after signing as a free agent following his departure from Middlesbrough.
Selected 35 times by his country, Downing enjoyed a distinguished career which earned him 725 appearances. More than 400 of them have been with his childhood club Middlesbrough, also representing Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa, as well as 35 caps for England.
But he admits that the time may have come to pursue other avenues.
“It is likely that I will retire,” he said.
“My contract ended at Blackburn. I had a good few years there, I wasn’t that involved last season.
“I re-signed in November so I was leveling up and by the time I did, the season was over.
“After last season because I wasn’t involved in the first three or four months, I tried to figure out if it was possible.
“But I went back to Blackburn for another six or seven months, and then I thought, ‘I feel good, I feel good.’
Downing made his last appearance for the club as a substitute in the final day’s win over Birmingham City at Ewood Park. It was his game number 62 for the Rovers where he was a finalist in the club’s Player of the Season vote for 2019/20.
At 37 in July, Downing expressed interest in staying in the game and has already started the process of earning his coaching qualification.
This included a period of working with Rovers Academy last summer when he was without a club and helping Under-23 boss Billy Barr in their last Premier League 2 games of the season against Chelsea. .
Downing is reportedly excited to become a coach, and it remains to be seen if a position will be available in the Rovers ranks for him to move up.
He would have considered playing if the right offer arose, having already sparked interest from Rangers and MLS clubs.
But speaking to TalkSport, Downing says his mind is almost made up after struggling for playing time at Rovers.
He added, “There comes a time when you have to make a decision. You have to enjoy football and if you don’t play that’s a big deal for me.
“I wasn’t involved as much as I would have liked last season.
“If that’s how it’s going to go forward, I’m going to watch something new and call it a day because it’s about playing and being involved on Saturday after all practice. the week.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t play last season, which is life, you keep going. I have a decision to make in the next few weeks, but I will probably retire.