It’s a big season for… Lewis Holtby and Andros Townsend

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Another couple of players fall under the spotlight in our short series on those in the squad for whom the coming season might be more important than normal.

It’s a big season for….. Lewis Holtby.

The German arrived in January as something of a saviour. We weren’t buying the goals we desperately needed but we were definitely buying talent. He’d left Schalke despite the fact that they were still in the Champions League and we were so keen to get him in that we ticked the express delivery box. This was no Ryan Nelsen or Louis Saha desperate measure.

His debut was as a sub on a cold night in Norwich where his energy and touch helped us get back into a game we were losing. Woo-hoo! Someone on the same wavelength as Bale! Did we have a man who might take some of the heat off the Welsh wonder? Erm, no. There was the occasional useful cameo but in general Holtby’s appearances were mostly anonymous.

So did we buy a dud? No, we didn’t. There’s little doubt that he is a player of intelligence and awareness. There is also little doubt that we didn’t use him in the right way in the majority of his 17 games. We played him on the right and on the left and in the hole but we never gave him responsibility in the middle where he’s done best for Germany U21s and elsewhere.

So what’s he to do? As the AVB revolution takes hold he’ll have noted that no one’s been purchased who does what he does. It’s hard to tell, as he’s been injured, but maybe the manager doesn’t want a player who does what he does? Or even worse, he’s waiting for someone better than him in his position to become available!

In a World Cup year he doesn’t want to face another season of being played out of position or a campaign made up of the Europa League and 20 minute appearances off the bench? No thanks. So what’s he to do? Get fit and then convince AVB that he needs some subtlety to complement the power of Sandro, Dembélé and Paulinho. If he can’t do that, it might turn into be a long season for him.

It’s a big season for….. Andros Townsend.

One person probably not thrilled at the arrival of Nacer Chadli was Andros Townsend. With the Belgian favourite to start on the left side of the attack, especially if Bale goes, the youngster’s path to the first team at White Hart Lane, in his favoured position anyway, appears blocked. After a very successful loan spell at QPR where he constantly earned plaudits he would’ve dreamt of a promotion to the first team at Spurs, unfortunately that looks like it won’t happen just yet. It will happen some time though, he is too good a player for it not to.

I felt we missed him last year when the absence literally and figuratively respectively of Lennon and Bale from the wings meant we were very narrow in many games making us easy to defend against. Chadli helps address that problem on the left, but what about on the right where Lennon’s partnership with Walker can be relied upon… until the speedster gets his inevitable season defining injury some time in January. Predominantly left footed, Townsend can still do damage with his right as his goal on his debut against Charlton Athletic showed. Is acting as Lennon’s sub/replacement his best chance of making an impression perhaps?

Now he’s had a taste of the big time he’ll be hoping that this is his breakthrough campaign where realisation draws level with potential and promise. I hope his hopes are fulfilled and that AVB finds a way to fit him in and give him regular games. He’s a good and exciting young player that we don’t want to start thinking, a la Steven Caulker, that his best chance of progress might be away from WHL.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Townsend showed against Monaco what he can do coming off the rigt wing. He almost duplicated it again in the last game. he is prepared to take the shot. Lennon is far to tentaive, he almost only shoots as a last option. and tends to run across the face of the goal. Townsend run at the goal. A far better bet going forward than Lennon. I am constantly amazed at the praise Lennon gets for very little production.

    • Although I agree about Lennon only shoots as a last resort. I think he's better at opening defence than Townsend. Also have better finishing than Townsend. Like the goal against Arsenal when he coolly rounds off Szchesney and slot home.

      Townsend has better goal-threat than Lennon with his goal scoring prowess, whereas Lennon is better at opening up defences and creating goal-scoring opportunities.

      Both IMO are important, but depends on the formation, tactics and team we face.

  2. I personally think Lewis holby will have his chance and take it, I watched a few games fr his old club on espn and also the under 21 cups! The boy has really good vision and can pick a pass when deployed in the right position. And yea Townsend is a better option than Lennon IMO

  3. Bothe Lennon and Townsend are essential for what is now a squad game and t times they will not be first choice but impact subs often. If you think about it that was all that Modric was at RM so they take up the challenge and push themselves into the team. Up to them

  4. I cannot see Holtby making it in a top side.

    Townsend has a big season ahead of him and must be in contention to start on either wing. Much will depend on his stamina and work rate just as Lennon had to learn to attend that side of his game. I must say I like Townsend with his willingness to run directly at defenders. He has a good strike and could break through this season.

  5. Where is Townsend going to be playing then?

    Seven subs, only 1 winger on the bench, Bale, Lennon, Chadli, Sigurdsson gets put out there to so to play he has to go on loan. More purchases to come, no space for him.

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