Andros Townsend was “desperate” to tweet his biggest critic after goal vs. Italy

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Andros Townsend is a bit thin-skinned, it would appear.

The England and Tottenham Hotspur winger received a hearty round of criticism following his latest national team call-up — perhaps with good reason (two league goals in 14 appearances) — most notably from former Arsenal midfielder and current Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson.

On March 19, Merson tweeted the following (tweet has since been deleted) regarding Townsend’s inclusion in the England team to face Lithuania and Italy this week:

“If Townsend can get in, then it opens it up for anybody. We are not picking players who are playing well for their clubs.”

Townsend didn’t appear in England’s 2016 European Champions qualifier against Lithuania, but was the second-half substitute that scored the equalizing goal against Italy, an impressive strike from outside the penalty area.

Following the game, Townsend was quick to respond to Merson’s criticism, seemingly believing he had proved the 47-year-old wrong by simply scoring a goal during his 21-minute appearance.

Since Tuesday’s game, Townsend has doubled-down in the media, explaining that his banter-iffic response wasn’t a spur of the moment retort, but a premeditated dig which had been on his mind for two weeks. Townsend, from the Independent:

As soon as the squad was announced two weeks ago, that tweet has been going over in my head. As soon as the goal went  in, I was just desperate to  get that tweet out. [Merson] said it when the squad was announced – that I should be nowhere near it.

“It didn’t really annoy me, it had kind of just given me the extra incentive to silence a few critics and hopefully I have done that – as I always have done. Of course, I have still got things to prove to people – I think you can never stop proving things to people – but I think every time I have put on an England shirt I have done myself justice, I have done Roy Hodgson justice  and the nation justice.”

That is pretty crazy. Townsend, a professional player, readily admits that while he was still on the field of play, with the game going on, he wanted to run back to the locker room to post a tweet in response to someone who said something bad about him.

If Townsend is willing to admit his desperation to hit Send on that tweet, what other snide comments must he — and other professional players — compose in their Twitter client of choice, only to hit the Back button and discard forever?

[ MORE: EURO qualifying at its midpoint: Predicting the 19 automatic qualifiers ]

Furthermore, one goal does not make a player, therefore Merson’s original opinion of Townsend isn’t officially proven “incorrect,” which is a conclusion that everyone is entirely too quick to jump to these days.

Someone, somewhere, at some point, said, “Let your play do the talking.” This seems an apt piece of advice for Mr. Townsend. Or, don’t, because this is a pretty enlightening look into the mind of a footballer.

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

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Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.