Downey extends Saints deal
Northampton centre signs new contract at Franklin's Garden
By James Mason. Last Updated: 05/02/10 11:13am
Downey: New deal
Saints centre James Downey has committed his future to Northampton after signing a new contract with the club.
"James puts in plenty of hard yards in attack and defence, and has been one of the most consistent players in the squad since he joined us"
Jim Mallinder Quotes of the week
The 28-year-old has followed in the footsteps of the likes of Chris Ashton, Ben Foden, Roger Wilson and Jon Clarke by extending stay at Franklin's Gardens.
Since arriving at Northampton in 2007 following spells with Calvisano, Munster, Connacht and Leinster, Downey has quickly become a key player in the Saints side.
Downey has produced some fine performances, impressing not only the club but also the Irish selectors - earning a call-up to the victorious Ireland A side in the Churchill Cup.
Downey is delighted at signing a new contract and has thanked the Saints coaches for helping him to where he is today.
He said: "I think I've come up a lot under Jim, Dorian and Paul and I've grown with all the players around me.
"They trust the players to make decisions on the field and with quick lads out wide we can get the ball out to them or keep it tight. A lot of the other guys have got better as well.
"You can always improve. This is only our second year back in the Premiership, and as the young lads get older we can only get better.
"We're playing big teams and that's where we want to be, winning some silverware."
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is pleased to have Downey in the squad and believes he is a key part of the team.
He added: "Our outside backs have been receiving the headlines, but they cannot function if the guys like James don't do their work in midfield.
"James puts in plenty of hard yards in attack and defence, and has been one of the most consistent players in the squad since he joined us.
"He is a person who thrives on competition, and he has increased his performance level time and again to keep his place in the first team.
"He has improved a lot in his time here and I believe there is more to come, which is why I am delighted that James is staying with us."