Stewart Downing has been told he will not start another game for Middlesbrough, due to a clause in his contract giving him a new one-year deal.
TEAMtalk understands that Downing has a clause in his contract stating that if he started half of Boro’s Championship games this season he would be entitled to a new one-year deal on his current wage – although that would be improved if they are promoted.
Downing, who earns around £35,000 a week, was one of Boro’s key performers in the first-half of the season and fans have been shocked by his lack of game time in recent weeks, but now the clause has been revealed.
We can also reveal that Boro did not make any attempt to speak with Downing leading up to the point where he had started 22 league games – the 23rd would take him over the 50% mark and would have triggered the clause of a new 12-month deal.
Downing met with Boro last week, who told him he would not be starting, but did not try and renegotiate a deal or offer him fresh terms, which we understand the former England international, now 34, would be open to.
It remains to be seen if a new deal will be negotiated, although Boro are now open to offers for the player, who Boro boss Tony Pulis would ideally like to keep and he is more than frustrated at being told he can’t start him.
Pulis said after the weekend’s draw with Millwall: “I think Stewart is one of the best players I’ve worked with in respect of his ability and attitude. But he’s 34 years of age and there’s a lot of games he’s played so far. Personally, I’ve got a lot of respect for Stewart.”