A year has brought about a great change for Andros Townsend and his footballing prospects. Twelve months ago he was struggling to have any impact on the Tottenham team restricted to brief appearances as a substitute and playing in Europa League and Cup matches. Now, he has made his England debut and scored a goal in a vital World Cup qualifying game.
In September, 2012 Townsend made his first Tottenham appearance in the Premier League as a substitute in a win oar Reading, coming on in the 87th minute. He appeared twice more as a late sub against QPR and Aston Villa for a combined total of 5 minutes. At the end of October he started the Europa League match in Maribor but had a poor game, losing the ball in midfield which led directly to the home team’s goal. He was substituted at half-time and didn’t play again until mid-December. He came on as a substitute against Swansea for the last 18 minutes. This time he had an influence on the game winning a free-kick from which Jan Vertonghen scored the only goal of the game in the 75th minute.
Townsend was impressive for the Tottenham Under-21 team but was getting little first team experience at Spurs. So with opportunities remaining limited at White Hart Lane, at the end of January, he went off to Loftus Road for some Premier League exposure. He scored twice for Rangers and grew in confidence over those four months and 12 appearances. He was the one bright light in a struggling Rangers side which was failed to avoid relegation.
With that experience Townsend has grown from strength to strength and was very much part of Andre Villas-Boas’ plans for the current season. The early season injury to Aaron Lennon presented him with an opportunity and Townsend has grasped it with both hands. He was included in the last England squad even though he had only made one Premier League start for Tottenham when the squad was announced. He sat out those matches but has repaid Hodgson’s faith in him with an outstanding display on his debut.
Townsend was delighted to be selected for England and to score on his debut.
Obviously delighted to cap my England debut off with a goal! And more importantly to get the 3 points!! Roll on Tuesday!!
— andros townsend (@andros_townsend) October 11, 2013
Long Road For Andros
Andros Townsend has progressed through the Tottenham Academy and Under-21 sides and has been regarded highly from a young age. He has, however, spent much time away from White Hart Lane on loan at lower League clubs to gain experience and develop as a player. Just turned 22 during the summer, he has been on loan with 9 different clubs and has over 100 League appearances for other teams. He has made only 27 appearances for Spurs in all competitions since making his Tottenham debut in January, 2011 in the FA Cup against Charlton Athletic. He scored that day and was Man of the Match.
It was last January’s loan deal at Loftus Road which gave him his first regular experience of the Premier League. His earlier appearances for Spurs had been in the European and Cup matches but starting regularly for Queen’s Park Rangers gave him the opportunity to show what he could do at the highest level in English football.
Townsend has represented England at Under-16 level through to Under-21 although he only made three appearances for the Under-21 team, missing out on last summer’s European Under-21 Championships due to suspension for over a gambling related issue.
It has been a great start to Townsend’s season and his England career. The past year has made a tremendous difference for him and now he will want to kick on from there with both Spurs and England. The return from injury of Aaron Lennon will increase competition for places at Spurs and with England just one game away from the World Cup Finals in Brazil next summer, there will be added competition for inclusion in Hodgson’s squad.
It’s always great to see a young player who has developed through the Tottenham youth system make it into the first team and to take that extra step into the England team is something special. Hopefully, Andros will continue to progress and have a long and successful career with Spurs and his country.
Congratulations Andros, may you enjoy many more successful evenings like that in the coming years.