Stewart Downing
Stewart Downing disputes Brendan Rodgers\' claim that he couldn\'t turn down the contract on offer at West Ham.

Brendan Rodgers has insisted he wasn't trying to get rid of Stewart Downing with the Liverpool manager claiming the winger wanted a move to West Ham.

Downing began last season out of favour with Rodgers but picked up his game and became an integral member of the squad before the end of May.

Rodgers had said this summer that the England international was in his future plans, but Downing sealed a shock move to West Ham this week to join fellow Liverpool outcast Andy Carroll at the club who hope to establish themselves as Premier League regulars once more.

And Rodgers has argued that Downing was the one who chose to exit Liverpool with West Ham offering the 29 year old a contract he couldn't refuse.

"Stewart was one who I thought would be a really good player for us in the squad," Rodgers said.

"He wasn't one we were pushing out of the door. After the early part of last season, he became a very valuable member of the squad. It was simple really. He had two years left on his contract and he was offered a really good deal by West Ham to cover four years I believe.

"When you are 29 years of age and maybe thinking about your place with one or two other players coming in here, I think it was a calculated gamble for him to go.

"When you leave a club like Liverpool it takes a lot of thinking. But he gets the chance to go to West Ham, picks up a long term deal, plays week in, week out and at this stage of his career that's obviously what he wanted."

Downing however rejected the claims that he chose to leave Liverpool because of the bumper contract on offer at West Ham, retorting: "I don't know about that. Obviously I've got a four-year contract but having the opportunity to play was the big thing.

"At my age I need to play and in a World Cup year I need to be in with a chance. Maybe for the club it was an unbelievable offer but, I don't know (about me)."