Andros Townsend has for a lot of people been the stand-out player for Tottenham this season. A breakthrough year for the young English starlet has seen him become a regular Premier League starter and also earned him his first caps at international level.
I don’t doubt that he is a very gifted footballer, and in fact I believe he will go on to achieve great things at Spurs, but for me people at the moment are slightly sensationalising things.
Townsend is a player that flatters; unbelievable bursts of pace down the flank and an ability to beat his man with consummate ease. Fans like to see this kind of football because it is easy on the eye, but my view is that it isn’t quite as effective as people might think.
Pace isn’t everything, there is a reason why Olympic sprinters aren’t all footballers and in my opinion Townsend needs to develop his game to become more than just a one-dimensional roadrunner. This was always the criticism of Aaron Lennon, and if Townsend can learn lessons from the experienced Englishman he will be well on track to further himself.
I’m probably being a littler harsh; Townsend can deliver world-class crosses and finish from almost anywhere, but in my opinion he doesn’t do it enough. In the league has one goal from a mishit cross, and a shot accuracy of just 53% says it all. He looks to me like he is trying to emulate Bale, when he should realise that he can become so much more dynamic than just always cutting in and taking an opportunistic shot.
Many were disappointed to see AVB switch to playing Sigurdsson and Lennon together, but in my view it was a change that made perfect sense. Townsend blows hot and cold, often goes missing and suffers from inconsistency. I’m not saying that Lennon doesn’t, but at the moment he is a much more reliable option.
I think with Townsend it is easy to forget that he is still on 22 and taking part in what is really his first fully season for the club at first team level. Fans needed a saviour after losing Bale and Townsend was the easy messiah figure to attach themselves to. He could well become that world-class replacement and I really hope he does; but people that think he is already at that level are extremely naïve.
Townsend has been impressive at points and I can only really draw comparisons with Lennon during his first few seasons at the club. Fans had this misconception that he was a lot more dangerous than he actually was, flatter to deceive and in many was conning people inadvertently.
Statistics aren’t always necessarily the best barometer for how well someone is playing; but in the case of Townsend his goal and assist totals really highlight the point.
AVB is right to treat him as he does Lamela, at similar stages in their development and arguably with as promising futures. Spurs have a future star in their midst if they play their cards right, keeping expectations low is of paramount importance.