STEWART DOWNING has explained his reasons for leaving Boro after completing his move to Aston Villa this afternoon for a fee of £12m.
The England winger has signed a four-year contract at Villa Park after passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.
"Leaving Boro feels strange because I've always been at the club," he said.
"I supported them when I was young and I'll always be a Boro fan.
"But I hope the fans will understand that I'm ambitious and want to win things. This move gives me a chance of that.
"Also I definitely want to play at next year's World Cup, so that's my aim - to get back to full fitness, get back playing and get myself in the England team for the World Cup.
"I don't just want to go there to sit it out this time either. I want to be in the team. I loved the last World Cup, it was brilliant, but I want to play a bigger part this time.
"I have to be with a good Premier League side if I want to do that.