It’s a big season for Andros Townsend, and that’s an understatement.
At the age of 24 Townsend is in danger of being accused of having his best years behind him already. Hodgson’s inspired decision to pick him for England near the end of the 2014 WC qualifying campaign brought its reward in the shape of direct running & intelligent performances with the bonus of a couple of key goals. Injury robbed him of a place in the squad in Brazil but he still made it to Rio as part of ITV’s commentary setup such was his standing. His suitability to follow Jermain Jenas’s career path has yet to be fully tested in the UK but on the field he has never been quite as effective with a cockerel on his shirt as he was with the three lions.
He seems to have been around forever yet has been part of the first team squad for just two full seasons. He has started only 22 Premier League games in that time, far fewer than most would guess but even given this lack of Premier League experience (throw in his loan games and remarkably he’s only 4 short of 200 career appearances!) he seems to be struggling to ‘train on’ to borrow a racing term; you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get when his name appears on the team sheet.
What you can always see in him in my opinion though is potential, arguably far more than in Lamela for instance. He has a few tricks up his sleeve, he has the ability to get past defenders and he has the pace we desperately desperately need. Our attack moves with the speed of Mo Farah towards a blood test, it would look and perform so much better with a bit of velocity to it.
Due to Lennon’s puzzling banishment to the sidelines we have no-one currently in possession of the ‘right wing’ position. A place in the side is there for the taking for Townsend in my opinion but he has to improve both his consistency and his end product. His trademark manoeuvre is a left foot shot from range that clears the bar and most of the terracing behind it – perversely his right foot shooting provides far more value per effort.
He’ll have a slow start to the season due to the injury picked up against Reading but as proved by his penalty against Chelsea one thing that can never be faulted with him is his attitude and appetite. If he can use this to better himself and make himself a weapon to be feared – especially on the break, as per his goal against Swansea then the whole character of our team would change for the better. He’s a local(ish) boy of course – ‘two of our own’ anyone?
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