ENGLAND boss Sven Goran Eriksson has confirmed he plans to give Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing his England debut in the friendly against Holland next month.

The 20-year-old, who just a year ago was farmed out to Sunderland on loan, has proved a revelation this season with a series of stunning displays down the left hand side for Boro.

And Eriksson believes the Teessider could solve his perennial problem on the left of midfield.

The Swede said: "I think he could be the answer, but it's his first season in the Premier League so it is a little bit early yet, but in the future I think it could be.

"Almost for sure I will pick him for the Holland game and if I pick him, he will play part of the game at least.

"I saw him last weekend and I think he did well, every game we have scouts there - and I have Steve McClaren there. He is getting better and better. He will almost for sure be picked."

Downing again showed just what a talent he is on Saturday at Carrow Road, despite the game being best remembered for McClaren's side throwing a way a three-goal lead.

Downing was involved in three of Boro's four goals and while the squad jet off to Spain for warm weather training this week downbeat following their capitulation against Norwich, the winger will be boosted by the news from the England camp.

Many of his team-mates, however, will struggle to get over their 12 minutes of hell in time for Saturday's FA Cup tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

McClaren admitted it will be a measure of his players exactly how they respond.

He said: "What we will be looking for is the reaction from the players and from everybody. Results like this could have a devastating effect.

"Hopefully we'll get the kind of reaction that is the opposite - it's positive - because if you analyse it for 99 per cent of the game we were very good.

"It's something we'll try and address this week."

The only positive news were defeats for both Everton and Liverpool meaning Boro gained a point on their rivals for the fourth Champions League spot.

Skipper Gareth Southgate said: "It's even more frustrating when you see the way the other results have gone.

"I've not been involved in games like that but I have been involved in games where you do give away two points at the end of a match and we have to be strong and come through it - it's a big disappointment.

"We have to raise morale but we have moved a point closer to the teams above us.

"Only Charlton of the teams around us have won and we've got away with it to a degree but it's a wasted opportunity.

"Our next game is Man. United in a cup tie and that's a completely different scenario. The league's still our priority and this will sit badly in the stomach until we go to Portsmouth."