North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham currently possess between them four of the finest wingers in England.
Spurs’ Andros Townsend has been in magnificent form of late – for both club and country – despite the wealth of talent imported to White Hart Lane this summer. Meanwhile, one of Spurs’ most loyal and committed servants Aaron Lennon has just returned from injury and will surely be preparing to fight Townsend, four years his junior, for his place in both Andre Villas-Boas’ team and Roy Hodgson’s.
Over at the Emirates and Arsenal’s top scorer last term was Theo Walcott who is currently out after undergoing abdominal surgery whilst his younger teammate and fellow Southampton academy graduate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on the road to recovery from a knee injury.
So, which pair is the best? It will likely be a case, for Hodgson at least, of which players out of the four are best but, at present, these players’ form and fitness at club level is likely going to have a big impact on whether or not they are on the plane to Brazil next summer for the World Cup.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is the youngest of the batch at just 20 years of age but, despite his youth, he’s already considered one of the Gunners’ most influential players. However, although he has tended to be deployed on the flanks, either to cover for Walcott on the right, or Lukas Podolski on the left, Wenger has stated he sees his future more as an attacking central midfielder.
Meanwhile, 22 year-old Andros Townsend, has set the stage alight so far this season, played a pivotal role in England’s qualification that will surely see him included in the squad next summer. His manager at Spurs, Villas-Boas dismissed the suggestions of journalists last Friday that Lennon and Townsend will be ‘battling’ for both club and country and insisted both players will be part of his first-team plans this term.
But, inevitably, one of them will likely surpass the other and, at present, you would have to fancy Townsend to eclipse Lennon who may well struggle to get back into the England team now.
Walcott is arguably the most experienced international of the bunch – he’s earned 36 caps for England – and has previously fought off competition from Lennon and Adam Johnson but it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep up with Townsend’s progress and form once he returns to the side at Arsenal.
I would expect, out of the four, Aaron Lennon’s place is in most jeopardy for both club and country – I would anticipate once Walcott returns to action, he’ll be included by both Arsene Wenger and Hodgson as often as possible but, for England, I wouldn’t be surprised if Townsend was started ahead of him. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s versatility may be enough to keep him involved at international level but the young man may also have quite a fight on his hands to make it to the World Cup.