Townsend Has Bridged the Bale Gap at Spurs and Why Rio Is Right for the FA

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Andros Townsend of Tottenham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on October 6, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle has signed on to write a weekly column for Bleacher Report UK. Learn more out about Glenn's exciting new website venture, Zapsportz, here.

At the start of the season Tottenham manager Andre Villa-Boas must have decided to put his hat on Andros Townsend, regardless of the millions he'd spent trying to replace Gareth Bale.

It doesn't matter if you cost £30 million or £50 million; it's about earning your place and keeping the shirt. Townsend has the shirt.

Who would have thought when Bale was sold to Madrid that Spurs would come upon a left-footer who comes off the right wing just as Bale did? Townsend was Spurs' best player against Aston Villa. He was the best player on the park.

Last season, you would have said he was 60 percent the player Bale was—80 percent at best.

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Now Townsend looks as though he has got his head right. He has the ability, and now he believes. His touch is good, he's playing with his head up and with the confidence he can create and score goals.

Naturally, he will have a spell when it does not work out and that will be his test as a young player.


FA commission can be a force for good

On that theme, it's really pleasing to see a strong group of young England players coming through, but we don't have enough. We need to developing a generation with 15 to 20 Jack Wilsheres, Ross Barclays and Townsends in it.

Greg Dyke's mission at The FA is to change the fortunes of the England team, and that vision is far too important to be derailed by politics and the kind of infighting we have seen in the last few days. I'm backing Greg, not because I’m on the commission, but because I believe in what he's trying to achieve.

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Greg is not in the job just to wear the blazer, but to really change things—and that's why I wanted to be involved. I felt that when I met him, and I think that if his commission can help changes things even a small amount, that can only be good for the future of English football.

People love to criticise—it's the nature of the game—but too often it's criticism for criticism's sake. Of course, we could always sit on our hands as we have done for the last 30 years, and do nothing for the next 30 years.

If we do that it will only get worse, not better.

I'm pleased that the current England manager Roy Hodgson and a former England captain in Rio Ferdinand have joined the commission. I can understand why Greg didn't want to announce Hodgson's inclusion a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes you keep your fastest bowler up your sleeve, to come in and take some vital wickets at the right time, and that is what Greg has done!

I think people like Roy and Rio, with their vast knowledge, are going to be invaluable.

Rio is a very astute guy. He is still paying and has a lot of respect in the game. It will be lovely to hear his perspective. I remember bringing him into the England team when he was 18 or 19, and I know he will have valuable views about the game.

As for Greg, it's time for change; we can all see that, and here is a guy trying to affect change. 


* is an exciting new website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-Factor-style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent.