Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hails Andy Carroll & Stewart Downing

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hails Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing as "fantastic players" despite selling the duo

West Ham duo Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing Photo: Andy Carroll/Twitter

Brendan Rodgers has hailed Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing as “fantastic players” despite selling the duo to West Ham United.

The Liverpool boss allowed Carroll, who moved to Anfield in a £35m deal from Newcastle United under his predecessor Kenny Dalglish, to join the Hammers a matter of months after taking charge of the Reds.

I think he’s [Andy] one of the best players in Europe in how he plays

Brendan Rodgers

Meanwhile, Downing completed a switch to east London last summer after a difficult two seasons on Merseyside following his £20m switch from Aston Villa in the summer of 2011.

Despite discarding the pair of England internationals, Rodgers had nothing but praise for Carroll and Downing ahead of Liverpool’s clash against West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday.

“Both players are fantastic players,” Rodgers said.

“Andy wasn’t let go from here because he wasn’t good enough. I think he’s one of the best players in Europe in how he plays, that style of attacking the ball in the air – he’s outstanding.

“Everyone knows the way I work; it was never to say that Andy couldn’t work that way, but he needed to play. He’s gone on and done great for West Ham.

“When he has been fit, he has shown that he is one of the top strikers playing in that style of football. It certainly wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough. He’s gone on and when he’s played and been fit for West Ham, he’s been excellent.

“Stewart Downing, like all the players in the opening few months when I came in, it was difficult for him. But then he really progressed and became a very important member of our team and squad by the end of the season.

“But the money that we were offered for him was going to help in getting other players in and help us continue along our journey within the philosophy.

“Stewart left and he has gone to there and been one of their best players, if not the best player. He’s got a great left foot.

“And both of them were good men as well. I only worked with Andy for a short period of time, but he was a good guy. Stewart, likewise, was excellent.”

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