Full Scouting Report on Andros Townsend After Inclusion in England Starting XI
As expected, Roy Hodgson has named Andros Townsend in the starting lineup for England's crucial World Cup qualifier against Montenegro.
You can see the full starting XI below, courtesy of the English FA.
It's Townsend's first cap with the senior team.
There's been a bit of a mixed reaction to his inclusion from the English media.
Former England international Gary Lineker is worried that Townsend might help to throw off the balance of the team.
Rumours Andros Townsend starts. If so can't see it being 4-3-3. Must be playing Welbeck left of midfield 4, otherwise looks very unbalanced— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 11, 2013
However, the Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward thought it was a sign Hodgson will be a bit more adventurous with his tactics.
Don't understand this surprise at Andros Townsend being picked tonight. Looks a proper winger. Thought people wanted Hodgson to be positive?— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) October 11, 2013
It's easy to see why the manager would opt for the 22-year-old Tottenham Hotspur winger.
Tactically, he can be either the prototypical wide man who looks to add width and pump crosses into the box, or he can play as an inverted winger, looking to attack the goal from the right flank. He can provide service for Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney, or he can help and divert the defense's attention away from the forwards with his runs into the box.
In terms of skill, Townsend is the kind of direct player England need out wide. He's a dynamic presence on the flank who can use his pace to break down a defense. Townsend is also a very good dribbler. According to Opta's data he's both attempted and completed more dribbles than any other player in the Premier League.
50 - Andros Townsend has attempted (50) and completed (33) more dribbles than any other player in the Premier League this season. Tricky.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 11, 2013
The one big problem for England could be that they could have a hard time keeping the ball in midfield. Townsend is used to playing higher up the pitch and not necessarily tracking back too much. There could be a lot of space in between Townsend and Kyle Walker.
For those who remain critical of Townsend's inclusion, you have to consider the alternatives. Aaron Lennon is just returning from injury, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains hurt. The only other realistic option is Ashley Young, and he's been startling with his ineffectiveness this season.
Selecting Townsend is undoubtedly a risk for Hodgson, but it's a necessary risk for an England side that has lacked a lot of dynamism throughout the entire qualifying campaign.
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