The forgotten men of the Premier League might not warrant too much of your pity as they ride the bench and treatment rooms of their respective clubs, earning money we can only dream of, but there’s more to a great under-appreciated star than their wages, and in our summer series Like a New Signing, we’re picking the players we believe can find the gear they failed to in the 2013/14 season, whatever the reason.
Previously: Stevan Jovetic: Like a New Signing – Abou Diaby: Like a New Signing – Erik Lamela: Like a New Signing – Ashley Young: Like a New Signing – Cheick Tiote: Like a New Signing – Nathaniel Clyne: Like a New Signing – Oriol Romeu: Like a New Signing
With nine loan moves in the past five seasons, it was a run of performances for parent club Tottenham Hotspur last season that saw Andros Townsend earn a call into the England first team, only for an ankle injury to destroy any chances of taking part in the World Cup. The football obsessed winger was definitely the unluckiest players of the 2013/14 campaign.
At 23 years-old, Townsend has the track record of a 30-year-old ‘journey man’. Coming through the Tottenham Hotspur youth academy, the Leytonstone born winger found it nigh on impossible to break into the North London club’s first-team ranks, instead cutting his teeth with loan spells at Yeovil, Leyton Orient, MK Dons, Ipswich Town, Watford, Leeds United, Birmingham City and Q.P.R all in the space of five years. Falling in and out of focus has been a source of real frustration for Spurs fans.
Given his long awaited break in the Spurs first team last season, Townsend repaid the faith and patience of the Tottenham fans and staff with a fantastic run that saw him make crucial contributions to World Cup qualifying games for England. Very few argued Townsend’s pedigree as an international and were soon proven right as the winger put in a Man of the Match performance and scored a goal in the 4-1 victory over Montenegro back in October 2013.
With excitement building at the tail end of Tottenham’s season, Andros was hit again by a severe ankle injury that was initially predicted to keep him out of action for ‘up to 10 weeks’, eventually ruling him out of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans.
With the season fast approaching and Andros Townsend returning to full fitness, Tottenham will be looking to the winger to provide the aggression and acceleration that made him an instant star-man during his hard earned run at White Hart Lane last season. A criticism that Townsend faced after the traditional statistical breakdown of any post season was his chance creation. With an in-form Emmanuel Adebayor and a more comfortable Roberto Soldado however, Townsend’s pace and passing could become deadly and could make the misfiring Tottenham front-line as potent as the clubs that surround them and challenge in the same realms.
Townsend will enter the 2014/15 season as a key man in Tottenham’s first team for the first time since joining the club aged eight and with the wisdom beyond his years and a real desire to perform for the club he loves, the winger, who is likely to be joined by a few new recruits this summer, could be Like a New Signing.
Words by Ben Fawcett