Paul Lambert has set the topic to be debated up and down the country this weekend, claiming Andros Townsend is no “world beater” like Gareth Bale.
Lambert’s Aston Villa side face Tottenham and Townsend this weekend, but he sees no reason to give the England star special treatment, per Pete O’Rourke of Sky Sports:
Will we be putting any special attention on him? No.
You can't jump on the bandwagon. It's only two games. Gareth Bale did it over a number of years - that's too much pressure to put on players.
If someone plays two good games they are a world beater but Tottenham have an array of players.
Townsend became something of a national hero over the past week, scoring the goal that killed off Montenegro on Friday before turning in another superb performance in the 2-0 win over Poland.
He has already been likened to Bayern Munich’s world-class winger Arjen Robben by Harry Redknapp, per Gerry Cox of the Daily Mail, but now there are inevitable comparisons with former Spurs star Bale, reported by John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
The truth is Townsend has all the raw materials to become an exceptional attacking player for club and country, but much will depend on his own footballing intelligence.
Redknapp’s comparison to Robben is not unsubstantiated. The left-footed Townsend drives at defenders off the right flank and is able to unbalance his marker by swerving right and left—just as Robben does. He also crosses the ball with both feet and boasts an exceptional long-distance shot.
The Bale link is more tenuous. Real Madrid’s summer signing is able to operate more centrally, he shifts the ball in a different way to Townsend and uses unadulterated pace to scare defenders.
Right now, the one thing to which both Robben and Bale are superior to Townsend is their decision-making. Fans of QPR and Spurs will acknowledge that the youngster shoots on sight.
At times he would be better advised to pass, like when he chose to sting the palms of Wojciech Szczesny in the first half against Poland rather than passing to Daniel Sturridge—who was in acres of space.
Right now Townsend is not even guaranteed a start for Spurs, who will soon welcome Aaron Lennon back from injury, per the Daily Star.
Who is the best player?
Time is on the 22-year-old’s side though. Bale began blossoming at the age of 21, hitting double figures in the goal charts for the first time in the 2010-'11 season, while Robben was still deemed to be tactically naive until he joined Bayern Munich at the age of 25.
Up to that point Robben had not scored more than 10 goals in a season for Chelsea or Real Madrid, but he has netted tallies of 23, 13, 18 and 13 since moving to the Bundesliga, per ESPN.
It would be no surprise to see Townsend struggle upon his return to club level, particularly given the microscope he now finds himself under. However, given time, the country could have a thrilling player on its hands.