Downing: Villa move will aid my World Cup dream

ENGLAND winger Stewart Downing insists he had to quit Middlesbrough for Aston Villa in order to boost his prospects of playing in next summer&rsquo;s World Cup.<br /><br />Downing completed a &pound;12m transfer yesterday, signing a four-year contract with Martin O&rsquo;Neill&rsquo;s improving Premier League outfit.<br /><br />It ended the left winger&rsquo;s long association with his hometown club, which he joined as a schoolboy.<br /><br />But following their relegation to the Championship, Downing decided he had to leave to hold onto his England place.<br /><br />&ldquo;Leaving Boro feels strange because I&rsquo;ve always been at the club,&rdquo; said the 24-year-old.<br /><br />&ldquo;But I hope the fans will understand that I&rsquo;m ambitious and want to win things. This move gives me a chance of that.<br /><br />&ldquo;Also I definitely want to play at next year&rsquo;s World Cup, so that&rsquo;s my aim &ndash; to get back to full fitness, get back playing and get myself in the England team for the World Cup.&rdquo;<br /><br />Downing, who has been ruled out until October with a foot injury, has high hopes for his future at Villa, who have finished sixth in the Premier League for the last two seasons.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really pleased to be joining Villa,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;When it became apparent that Villa were interested I was very excited.&rdquo;