Andros Townsend followed up his impressive cameo appearance as a substitute against Swansea City at White Hart Lane with a ‘Man of the Match’ display for the Under-21 team at Aston Villa. The Under-21s won 3 – 0 but could easily have had more goals in a win which takes them to the top of National Group One of the Barclays Under-21 League.
Townsend was sent on against Swansea with twenty minutes to go as Spurs tried to break through a well organised and disciplined defence. From the outset, his pace and direct running from the right caused Swansea problems and unsettled their defence. Within three minutes Townsend brought a foul from the defender and it was from that free-kick by Kyle Walker that Jan Vertonghen scored the only game of the match.
Townsend continued to worry Swansea and in added time Townsend could have added to the lead when he got through on goal but the goalkeeper blocked his effort. It was probably just as well that he didn’t find the net as Swansea were already aggrieved that the Spurs players hadn’t put the ball out as Michu was lying injured after colliding with Hugo Lloris as he punched clear from the edge of the area. Swansea were furious that the referee hadn’t stopped play because of the ‘injury’ and this led to some pushing and shoving among the players.
The Under-21 team completed a 3- 0 win over Villa with first half goals from Ryan Mason and a ‘young’ Scott Parker. Parker played as an over-age player, three being permitted in the competition, as he builds up his fitness for a return to first team duties. In the second half Spurs added to the score through an own goal but could have had many more but for the good work of the young Villa goalkeeper and some profligacy in front of goal by the Tottenham players.
Although Townsend didn’t score in the game, he put in an outstanding performance which caused Villa problems. It was his run and cross that the Villa defender put through his own goal. the official Tottenham website described Townsend as being “unstoppable”. He was closely followed by Iago Falque who also performed well in a win which sees Tottenham finish the first part of the League in top place and so qualify for the Elite Section which will be played in the new year.
The Under-21 team have played 12 games and after a slow start, taking only one point from their opening three games, they won 7 of their final nine games. They completed a five game winning sequence prior to losing their previous game, a 2 – 1 defeat at Sunderland. The other result in that nine match sequence had been a 3 – 3 draw with Villa at White Hart Lane in early October.
Andros Townsend had impressed early in the season and scored against Carlisle United in the Capital One cup but then disappointed when given his chance to start in the away Europa League game against Maribor. After a disappointing first half display, he was substituted at half-time and for a period seemed to drop out of contention. He made his England Under-21 debut earlier in the season and now appears to have regained his confidence at a time when Spurs will need as many options as possible available to them in a busy schedule over the holidays.
He was introduced against Swansea when the team, without Gareth Bale, was lacking pace and it was his injection of speed and direct running which turned a close game in Tottenham’s favour. Andre Villas-Boas is clearly prepared to trust the young players and use them even in close games, so it’s up to them to make the most of the opportunity and it was encouraging that Townsend was able to do that.