Andros Townsend Went Above and Beyond The Duty Of A Modern Footballer


In Sunday’s match against Hull at White White Hart Lane, Andros Townsend showed commitment above and beyond what the modern footballer would normally display.

Andros Townsend Fall Over the hoardings. [Photo: Alan Hill]Two minutes after Roberto Soldado’s penalty to give Tottenham the lead, Townsend in trying to deliver a cross into the area ended up going head first over the hoardings behind the Hull City goal. The last that was seen of Townsend for almost ten minutes was him doing a somersault into the photographers’ pit.

The game quickly proceeded as Tottenham medical and other rushed to see what they could do. Tottenham had already used their three substitutes and so were forced to play out the final minutes against a Hull side aggrieved at the referee’s decision to award a contentious penalty for hand-ball. There was nothing Spurs could do but try to hold out and Andre Villas-Boas was torn between watching the match and concern for his young player as a stretcher was brought to the scene.

Time passed and as Spurs held out, it became clear that a photographer had been cut on the forehead as Townsend had tumbled into the pit. He was bandaged up but there was still no sign of the Tottenham player and anxiety grew with concern about his welfare. With 88 minutes played Townsend emerged from the pit with his wrist bandaged and two of the Tottenham medics with him. It was initially assumed that Townsend was heading for the dressing rooms but it soon became clear that Andros was wanting to return to the pitch. It seemed unlikely but Andros gesticulated that he was determined to go back on for the final few minutes.

Townsend returned to the action as Tottenham held on to their slender advantage and he managed to fire a shot into the crowd as time ran out.

If Tottenham had not already used their substitutes there would have been no question of Townsend returning to the pitch as AVB would have quickly brought on a replacement.

In the modern game it very rare to see a player soldier on with an injury or after an incident similar to what happened on Sunday. At the slightest strain, tightness or knock most players now signal to the bench and are removed from the field of play. Football stories from days past recall players who played on in spite of injury and many injured players before the days of substitutes would be patched up and sent back on to spend time out on the left wing to make a nuisance of themselves rather than come off.

What makes Townsend’s return even more unusual is that it wasn’t just his wrist which was requiring attention but he had been unconscious for a few minutes and had to receive oxygen while being attended to in the photographers’ pit. Townsend showed courage to return to the pitch, not wanting to let the side down and wanting to help his team mates secure the vital three points.

In an earlier interview AVB described Townsend as ‘fearless’ in a different context but he certainly showed that on Sunday afternoon.  After the match the manager reported on Townsend.

"He’s in a lot of pain but he assures me he will be OK. He fell quite deep into that hole, he twisted his wrist."

There are not any players who would have done that – well done to Andros Townsend – he wanted to get on with the game and he’s an example to all modern players. Commenting on the injury and match situation, Townsend said,

"I didn’t want to go off on a stretcher with a wrist injury. I saw we had 10 men so ran back on."