Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend scored a gem to grab a 1-1 draw for England away at Italy on Tuesday, as the Spurs winger silenced plenty of critics in the process.
Townsend, 23, has enjoyed an up and down season for Spurs with injuries, loss of form and squad rotation eating into his playing minutes.
[ VIDEO: Townsend’s screamer ]
After bursting onto the scene for Spurs and England in 2013, which included a stunning goal on his England debut, Townsend’s career has stalled a little. That prompted many pundits to criticize his inclusion on the current Three Lions squad, one of whom was former England and Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson who now has a prominent role in the UK media with Sky Sports.
Well, Townsend remembered Merson’s jibes shortly after his stunning strike in Turin against Italy and had the following to say via Twitter…
Seeing a player taking his critics head on is refreshing and shows Townsend has confidence in his own ability, even if others do not. Now the pacey winger must continue to play regularly for Spurs and give Roy Hodgson a headache of epic proportions when it comes to future squads.
How can the England manager possibly fit Townsend, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Adam Lallana and Theo Walcott all into the same squad? Following Townsend’s stunning finish and his driving runs, he may have to. Townsend played liked a man with something to prove after coming off the bench late on against Italy and he has certainly proved to some of his critics that he is capable of playing and scoring at the international level. Now, can he keep it going?
With five-straight starts for Tottenham, even though he has been subbed out in four of those matches, Townsend seems to be winning over new boss Mauricio Pochettino and is becoming a regular once again at White Hart Lane. If he can add more goals to his game, expect Townsend to fulfill the potential which saw him lauded as a future England regular when he burst onto the scene in 2013 following a successful loan spell at Queens Park Rangers which resulted in him jumping up the pecking order at Spurs.
One other interesting note is that Townsend’s potential ascendancy with England may well be replicated by several of his Spurs teammates. Look at the players around him in the photo he Tweeted above. When celebrating his goal against Italy Townsend was surrounded by Spurs teammates Kyle Walker, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason. Can those four players become regulars for England? There are certainly opportunities for all four but now they have to take them.