Can Andros Townsend Keep His Place at Tottenham?
Against Montenegro and Poland, he was a piercing, attacking weapon who played with no fear. For England fans used to Theo Walcott's haphazard attempts at running with the ball, it was a breath of fresh air.
For all the impressiveness of Wayne Rooney and Leighton Baines, it was Townsend's show of pace and direct running that was by far the most impressive.
Whereas Ukraine brutally exposed Walcott's near painful inability to carry the ball forward in transitions from defence to attack last month—not for the first time—the Spurs winger provided exactly the option that Roy Hodgson craves.
It was rather wonderful to watch at times. The contrast between what Townsend can do and what Walcott can't do was as striking as the performances of the Spurs winger themselves.
But back to reality
Whilst Townsend has been riding on the crest of an English wave for the past few days, it is very much back to business at Spurs, who are still reeling from an horrific 3-0 loss at home to West Ham before the international break.
But luckily for him, the two performances for England may have helped him to save his place in the starting line up.
Not that he was any worse than anyone else in a Spurs shirt in that game, but because as a young, English academy graduate, his position in the team was arguably the most expendable before he became something of a national hero.
Even taking into account the fact that Spurs are now very much Gareth Bale-less, Townsend has still done remarkably well to force his way into Andre Villas-Boas' starting line-up this season.
They have something of a plethora of players all capable of playing his role, and they all cost a whole lot more than he did (that's not hard, considering he was free).
Spurs have Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby, Nacer Chadli and Aaron Lennon, who are all more than capable of playing in his position. Townsend would have a mighty job keeping all of them at bay as it is, but perhaps of greatest concern to him will be Erik Lamela.
There is only so long a manager can leave his club's record signing on the bench before there starts to be some serious unrest.
Whilst Townsend's pace and ability to run with the ball and take on defenders would undoubtedly be an asset to almost any side, AVB's Spurs have had a notorious problem breaking teams down at home in this way.
They struggled especially last season when they possessed an attacking trio of Lennon, Bale and Jermain Defoe, three of the most direct aggressive ball-running-type people that you are ever likely to meet. In fact, Spurs were "Bale-d" out by a last-minute winner on many occasions.
In fact, since the start of last season, Spurs have managed just 33 goals at home, which is just the 10th-best record overall in the division.
Townsend will surely have to start away at Aston Villa on Sunday, but a poor result there, and AVB may use it as an excuse to change things up in search of some better results at home.
Future at the lane
Townsend definitely has a future at Tottenham, but he has to make sure that his future is as a starter instead of another young Englishman who is warming yet another Premier League bench.
He is still yet to score in the League this season, and his only assist has been in winning the penalty for Roberto Soldado to convert in the home win against Swansea. He needs to make himself statistically un-droppable and make it impossible for AVB to draft in Lamela.
If he loses his place, Roy Hodgson will find it all too easy to start playing Walcott again, and all Townsend's early season momentum will be for nothing. Let's hope that is not the case and that he manages to build on the promise he has shown so far for both club and country.
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