Andros Townsend’s midweek heroics have propelled England to the cusp of World Cup qualification. The Tottenham man put in a stunning display on his full international debut to guide the three lions to a comfortable 4-1 win over Montenegro.
The youngster has been showered with glowing praise from all corners of the footballing world, and many have already tipped him to go on and develop into one of our brightest international assets for many years. Surely if he can continue anything like the form he showed last week he has every chance of matching the lofty targets many have already set for him.
Success in the international game is one thing, but realising his potential at club level may be a totally different prospect. Tottenham are a club deep in transition and who of late have pieced together one of the strongest squads in the whole of the Premier League. Whereas in the national set-up Townsend may only be competing with say Walcott and maybe Milner, at club level he has the likes of Lamela, Lennon, Chadli and Sigurdsson all in his way.
So will Townsend continue to be afforded opportunity at Spurs?
With the return of Lennon and gradual integration of Lamela you may think otherwise.
Personally though I think Townsend will continue to be given ample chances to shine in AVB’s revolutionised side. AVB is a man of principle and keen to instil some sense of meritocracy within the Tottenham set-up. Hence the slow start for Hugo Lloris last year and the current persistence with Gylfi Sigurdsson this term.
AVB has no reason to drop Townsend because as it stands he is the club’s main source of attacking craft, a commodity of importance for Spurs. I’ll admit though pressure does come when there is a £30m club record-signing sitting on the bench, with the board keen to see the fruits of their summer spending.
This isn’t an issue because I fully expect Lamela to eventually break through at Spurs; it is more a question of when than if. A wide combination of both Lamela and Townsend is for me the most likely long-term scenario. Sigurdsson has been playing incredibly well and I don’t doubt his footballing abilities, but for me he just isn’t the wide man Spurs are looking for and if anything he should be competing with Eriksen for that number 10 role.
The return of Aaron Lennon though could be a much more interesting proposition. Lennon has been a tremendous servant for the club and has offered Spurs pace and width in abundance. Often criticised for a perceived lack of end product, the Englishman is recognised as a significant menace amongst opposition defences and clearly still a huge asset for AVB this season.
AVB doesn’t pick though on reputation or name, and it is my firm belief that Lennon will have to work like the rest of the squad to prove his worth. That said I think even at such an early stage of his career, Townsend still offers Spurs so much more. Comfortable off both feet and with a much better delivery than Lennon, which doesn’t say much, he is for me the better option.
This wont concern AVB because with the bulk of work ahead for the squad it will be crucial for him to have at least four first team wingers to choose from. Pace down the flanks is something that wins games in the final 20 minutes and if AVB has the option to bring on say a Lennon or Chadli with the clock ticking down then who knows what Spurs could achieve.
The issue may be more as to whether a peripheral role is enough for Lennon at his age. Cup football with a smattering of Premier League action is usually something afforded to younger players, would an internationally capped winger really settle for this?
Personally I think he may. Spurs are on the verge of something big and as a player you want to be involved in these kind of projects as much as possible. I may even be understating the amount of playing time that Lennon would get. Injury and loss of form will likely necessitate AVB shuffling his pack from time to time and someone of Lennon’s experience will be the man to fill the berth.
I amongst many other may be extremely quick to laud the emergence of Andros Townsend, but for those who have watched him mature beyond the last week will be in agreement over this prodigious talent’s enormous potential.
At Spurs he may be in one of the most competitive sides in the League but for me this will only make him stronger. Battling with a collection of the world’s best for a starting spot can only be a good thing and I expect him to continue featuring for the club in the future.
Do you think AVB will keep the faith in Townsend?
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