Usually, when I’m watching England, I only have to put up with one Andy Townsend, and that’s nauseating enough. Now though, with the ‘emergence’ of Andros Townsend, the repetitive drivel spreads down onto the pitch.
There seems to be a feeling that Townsend will be the emerging talent that England need for the World Cup next year. Being a Spurs fan, and watching Andros Townsend so far this season, I’m writing this to tell you that he won’t be.
A hugely successful loan from January last season at QPR (he won their player of the year) led to speculation over whether the 22 year-old would have a place in a Tottenham side selling Gareth Bale. The problem lies in that not only has he seemingly taken Bale’s place in the side; he seems to believe that he is Gareth Bale himself.
I put his start of the season form, where he followed his now, traditional pattern of get ball, run with ball, shoot ball, down to a player looking to impress a manager with £100m worth of new talent at his disposal. But this pattern keeps happening. It’s been happening so much that, with a quarter of the season now gone, Townsend has already been found out by defenders. He wasn’t given a sniff against Newcastle United last weekend.
Even a quick look at the stats backs me up. Since the start of the season, Townsend has had 45 shots, and a grand total of one goal scored. Ironically, that goal wasn’t even a shot. To put that into perspective, Aaron Ramsey (often shifted out to the right this season) has six goals from 25 shots. Eden Hazard, four from 23. For a club like Spurs, looking not only to get into the top four but showcase their new talent, it doesn’t make good reading.
If Townsend is ever going to prove himself as something more than a flash in the pan, he needs to work on his game. He needs, essentially, to become more like the bafflingly peripheral Aaron Lennon. The winger has been a mainstay of the Spurs side for eight seasons before this one, and over that time he’s learnt how to evade challenges from left-backs, and most importantly his crossing, once derided by most fans and pundits. Just ask Patrice Evra what he thinks about facing Lennon; twice a season he’s given the run-around by the number seven.
However, Andre needs to be teaching Andros. If Villas-Boas keeps picking Townsend when he’s in this false vein of form, Townsend will be missing the opportunity to develop his game to the next level. One-dimensional players that can’t adjust their game to the highest level don’t stay there too long. If Townsend isn’t dropped, and given impetus to actually pass the ball to Soldado, Eriksen or Lamela, he could end up playing in the Championship again before you can say ‘Jermaine Beckford’.
This is not me writing off Andros Townsend, nothing like that. It’s just to calm the hype of those, including maybe Andros himself, who believe he is the proverbial answer to Tottenham and England’s worries.
He’s still very young for a footballer at 22, he’s got the experience of being loaned out to ten different clubs in his career (a great pub question) and it’s clear that, as his irritating commentator sidekick might say, “The boy’s got talent.” But talent isn’t enough at this level, and it’s time Townsend realised that.