Downing in no rush for new contract
The future of Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing has been thrown into question with the player refusing to sign a new contract in the near future.
Downing, who moved to Villa Park from Middlesbrough two years ago, will be out of contract in the summer of 2013 and Villa face having another player on their books, as with Ashley Young, whose value is forever falling as he moves towards a Bosman free transfer.
England international Downing has been linked with a move to Liverpool in recent months, with Young tipped to join Manchester United.
The player's desire for Champions League football means an exit from the Midlands club cannot be far away.
Downing told the Northern Echo: "I know the club are keen for me to extend my contract as I only have two years left on my deal. My agent (Struan Marshall) had a recent meeting with our chief executive (Paul Faulkner).
"However, I am 26, and at a major crossroads in my career, so I won't be committing to a new deal at the moment.
"I want to keep playing and enjoying my football. When I was injured that made me realise what it can be like to be out for such a long time.
"It hurt. The most important thing is to play football, but I do want to play in the Champions League at some point.''