Andros Townsend // The Myth

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.

Andros Townsend, England’s saviour? Not quite says George…

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.

George Pacitto

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Boring, Boring Tottenham Hotspur? // Spurs – October

Anzhi Makhachkala 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League – Group Stage)

Until a few months ago, this game would have been viewed as a real test in the Europe League group stages. However, it’s a struggle to describe just how bad Anzhi have become since the likes of Willian, Eto’o, Diarra and Samba departed the club. This could easily have been more, AVB deciding to keep it nice and smooth for the second half especially. We played decent stuff, but had we been bothered a bit more, this one could have been five at least.

Performance Rating: Grade B; Overall, a much easier game than expected, was disappointed not to see more goals.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 West Ham United

As bad as Anzhi were in the previous game, this game put that in the shade. This was an abject performance, and nobody in a white shirt could hold their head high at the final whistle. Not that we deserved to lose 3-0, but it was almost hurtful to watch our continental, European trophy-winning manager getting completely tactically outplayed by Sam Allardyce. Without doubt Jan Vertonghen’s worst game in a Spurs shirt, and a game that should be showed to any Spurs fan wanting Defoe up top on his own. Selfish to the end, no link-up play whatsoever, and he must have frustrated most of the midfielders he’s played with in his entire career. All in all, sombre reality checks for the, “best defence in Europe.”

Performance Rating: Grade U; The worst home performance I’ve seen since we lost 1-5 to Man City. Everything went wrong, and gutting that it came against West Ham.

Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Coming back after the international break, a certain Andros Townsend was now flavour of the month after some remarkable performances for England. He returned to the Spurs fold with his first goal of the season at Villa Park, ironically a cross after previously having the most shots in the league without scoring. We controlled large parts of the game, Villa had chances but never anything that worrying, and Roberto Soldado managed to get a small monkey off of his back with his first Spurs goal from open play.

Performance Rating: Grade B; After being worried the West Ham game would open our defensive floodgates, the main positive was keeping a clean sheet. Was never worried about losing this after we scored, controlled the game very well.

FC Sheriff Tiraspol 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League – Group Stage)

Back to the Europa League this time, travelling to Moldova (not Northern Ireland, as Lewis Holtby for some reason believed) to play one of the best named teams in football, FC Sheriff Tiraspol. Who, to be fair, were better than most Spurs fans had been led to believe.

Lewis Holtby thought Tiraspol was a city in Northern Ireland.

Lewis Holtby thought Tiraspol was a city in Northern Ireland.

They really gave us a game, for the first 20 minutes especially, and Vertonghen’s goal from Eriksen’s cross really helped us settle. Defoe added a routine second, and we now only need a win in the reverse fixture to qualify with 2 games to spare.

Performance Rating: Grade B; Good to keep a 100% record in Europe, without conceding. It’s hard to judge how happy I should be with a Europa League group stage win, but 3 points is 3 points.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Hull City A.F.C:

A game that will never be remembered for the footballing reasons by fellow Spurs fans. It was dreary, nearly sending me to sleep on my birthday, and it took a very fortunate penalty decision to give us the breakthrough. The game was followed by criticisms of the atmosphere by our own manager, and Andre has been lucky to avoid too much of a backlash from that, despite me agreeing with him to an extent. Andros Townsend managed to give a Daily Mail reporter a cut to the head though, which is always nice.

Performance Rating: Grade C; While it’s 3 points on the board, it’s worrying that this isn’t enough for most Spurs fans. We like to be entertained, as do I, but I’d take 25 1-0 wins if we won the league at the end of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Hull City A.F.C. (Capital One Cup, AET) (Tottenham win 8-7 on penalties):

We had a bit of a Hull marathon in the last week, getting drawn against them in the Capital One Cup, playing the same fixture only three days previously. A game in which history was made, as Tottenham, finally, won a penalty shootout for the first time since 1994. Another sluggish performance, but this time with the White Hart Lane crowd in healthy voice. It’s not ideal to go the distance in a cup tie, with a tough game against Everton to follow, but winning that penalty shootout was the most satisfying part of this season so far. The major disappointment of the shootout being from Erik Lamela, whose confidence has been visibly low since his arrival from A.S. Roma for £30million, and his miss will have done him no favours.

Eric Lamela has struggled to settle at Spurs since arriving from Roma.

Eric Lamela has struggled to settle at Spurs since arriving from Roma.

Performance Rating: Grade C with extra credit; Happy to have won a penalty shootout for the first time, when you follow Tottenham and England it’s a painful existence when it comes to that. But it should never have gone that far, and more than likely will have impacted on our game at the weekend, playing 120+ minutes.

Overall Rating: B for boring; We must try harder. Spurs fans, myself included, like and respect AVB, but if really wants to build something at Tottenham, it’s going to take a little bit more high-tempo. He knows he needs the fans onside, and we are for now.

George Pacitto