Downing blames poor finishing as assist record is scrutinised

England winger Stewart Downing has hit back over criticism of his lack of assists at Liverpool this season, claiming it is not his fault the strikers do not put the chances he creates away.

Since signing for the Reds from Aston Villa for £20 million last summer, the 27-year-old has failed to notch a goal or an assist in 36 Premier League games.

The left-footer’s selection in the Euro 2012 squad by Roy Hodgson raised a few eyebrows, but Downing insists the statistics do not tell the whole story.

“I've constantly set up chances, as I did at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough and have done at Liverpool, season in and season out," he told The Independent.

"I can't be criticised for not creating. I'm in the team to do that and I've done that throughout the season. I've just been unlucky that we've not finished the chances.”

He admitted, however, that his goalscoring record has not been good enough. He added: "The goal thing is [embarrassing], the fact that I didn't get enough goals."

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Despite his disappointing assist record at club level, Downing has a record of an assist every 185 minutes for England; the best in the Euro 2012 squad.

And he has bemoaned the finishing at Liverpool as contributing to his recent poor domestic return.

"Stats have taken over the game: he doesn't score this, he hasn't set up that,” he added. “You can read into it as you like. If you look at what I did at Aston Villa, those chances got put away.

“Last season I was on a par with that, but at Liverpool they didn't [get put away]. It seemed to take us four or five chances to score a goal."

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