FORMER Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing has admitted publicly that he's probably played his last game in professional football.

The 36-year-old has made 725 career appearances playing for Boro, Aston Villa, Liverpool, West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers including 35 caps for England.

Middlesbrough-born Downing featured 404 times in all competitions for his hometown club across two spells and scored 32 goals.

He helped the club reach it's first ever UEFA Cup final in 2006 supplying the cross the Massimo Maccarone's header in the dramatic semi-final win over Steaua Bucharest and was part of the squad that achieved promotion to the Premier League in 2016.

Downing was released from Tony Mowbray's Blackburn squad earlier this month after his contract expired and he told Talksport that he could call time on his illustrious career.

"I've just had a couple of weeks to make a decision. I think the likelihood is I'll probably retire.

"My contract has ended at Blackburn. I had a great time there in the last couple of years.

"I wasn't involved as much last season. I didn't re-sign until about November time so I was trying to get up to speed and by the time I did the season had sort of petered out.

The Northern Echo: Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough celebrates putting Middlesbrough 1-0 up during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough & MK Dons at The Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough on Saturday 12th September 2015... 

"I think after last season because I wasn't involved involved in the first three or four months, I sort of tried to get my head around that this could be it.

"I'd went back to Blackburn for another six or seven months and then I thought I feel good and fit but there comes a time where you have to make a decision.

"You've got to get the enjoyment of football and if you're not playing then that's a big thing for me" 

"If that's the way it's going to be going forward then I think I'll look at something new and call it day because it's about playing for me and being involved on that Saturday after training all week."