Andros Townsend's Window of Opportunity at Tottenham Is Running out
An ankle injury has limited Aaron Lennon to a solitary game this season, and Erik Lamela is still adjusting to life as a Tottenham player.
But Townsend hasn't fully taken advantage of the situation.
Should Townsend lose his starting position to Lamela, which gives the Englishman a reason to exit stage left, the general sentiment will be regret as opposed to "good riddance."
Despite Townsend beating full-backs with ease, ratcheting up the speed of the game and being a one-man counter-attack, his decision making is holding him back from being a world-class footballer.
Mind you, this is the same person who arrived at Leeds without his football boots, placed bets on football games incredulously unaware of match-fixing implications, and his honest to a fault approach to diving ensures referees won't be giving him the benefit of the doubt.
"To admit to having dived is a brave stance as there could well be a reluctance in future weeks for referees to award free-kicks to Townsend in tight situations," said former referee Graham Poll, via The Daily Mail. "They [referees] will not want to be duped by a self-confessed diver."
When Townsend is hacked down by Joey O'Brien and referee Lee Probert waves play on as West Ham United launch a counterattack, the Spurs winger will learn the hard way that chivalry doesn't win football games.
Townsend Taking a Page Out of Arjen Robben's Book
Townsend averages the highest shots per league game in Europe's elite leagues without a goal.
It's counterproductive to spend £26 million on a goal-poacher in Roberto Soldado only for him to average 2.1 shots per game less than Townsend.
Soldado has created more goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates (11) than Townsend (seven).
Like Robben, Townsend's natural instinct is to go for it, which explains his nine—yes, nine!—shots against Norwich.
|Player||Goals||Shots||Shots Per Game|
It's easy to ignore Robben's 128 career assists, his hat-trick of assists against St. Pauli in 2011 and him going to great lengths to be more team-oriented.
The latter aspect is relevant in Townsend's display against Chelsea.
He wasn't selfish, he was selfless and refused to shoot.
Just like publicly admitting to diving against Chelsea (he also went down easily against Swansea City), it's as if Townsend's selfless performance against the Blues was his way of shutting his critics up.
Okay, he didn't take stupid shots, but he had the beating of Ashley Cole and he wasted the opportunity of making a big impression.
When Townsend finds that happy medium between shooting and creating, he'll be a star.
But will it be with Spurs?
As Tottenham head of football development Tim Sherwood alluded to in February, perhaps Townsend is a big fish in a small pond.
"He'd prefer to play in a situation like QPR," said Sherwood, via Tom Collomosse at the London Evening Standard. "If Andros is tackled by the full‑back 10 times, he’ll beat him the 11th and win you the game."
14 - Andros Townsend successfully dribbled past an opponent 14 times yesterday vs Wigan; the most ever recorded by Opta in a PL game. Silky.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 8, 2013
You see at Tottenham, if Townsend gets tackled 10 times, he would have been subbed off.
"We know how tough it will be but we’ve all been given chances," said Townsend, via Tom Collomosse at the London Evening Standard. "It's up to us to take them."
Time is running out for Townsend, because it's only a matter of time before Lamela takes his chance.
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