It would be naïve to suggest that Townsend can have the exact same impact as the Welshman because Bale is that unique, one of a kind sort of player who it was always going to be impossible for Tottenham to replace.
However, they have a player in Townsend who is very similar to Bale in several ways and if he’s given a decent run of games this season by Andre Villas-Boas he will refine his qualities and become a better player for it.
One thing which Townsend has in spades which scares the life out of defensive players is pace.
The ability to change from a jog or a simple dribble of the ball to a full on sprint in a split second is something Townsend is capable of and something that Bale was always known for during his time at White Hart Lane.
The difference between the two is Bale clearly has a better understanding of tactics and how to get the better of defenders in a variety of situations which Townsend currently lacks.
Townsend is a very decent winger but he doesn’t have the same understanding of what the opposition is trying to do and the situation around him, which is something Bale seemed to have mastered towards the end of last season leading into his move to Real Madrid.
However, that side of his game will develop and grow with experience with the most important point being there are already some striking resemblances between the way Townsend plays and the way Bale played over the course of last season.
On two occasions against Arsenal when Townsend was playing on the right, he showed great skill to cut inside quickly before unleashing shots on goal.
Look at the majority of Bale’s goals from last season and several of them were produced after he retained the ball well down the right before nudging slowly across onto his left foot before cracking the ball in from all angles.
When the formula that Tottenham have been using with a strong left sided attacking player has worked so well, there is no reason to change it just because a successful player has left the club.
His variety of passing skills and the way he utilises space and creates space for others will only improve as he plays more games similar in calibre to the North London derby.
Had he cracked in those left footed efforts yesterday then there would have been only one player Tottenham fans would be interested in talking about.
Townsend remains a very young man at just 22-years-old and he seems to have put off the field problems behind him, which will allow him to focus, develop and get stronger as a player and the end result is something which will only benefit the club.
What do you make of Townsend? Can he have a similar impact to Bale?
image: © andybrannan