Three areas Townsend outdoes Sterling and the Ox in battle for World Cup place

Andros Townsend

Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend is reportedly worried about losing his World Cup place to the Arsenal and Liverpool men, but should he be?

While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was attempting to single-handedly beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, time and again running at one of the most experienced back-lines in Europe with a confidence that belied (or perhaps illustrated) his youth, Andros Townsend may well have been wondering if he would be picked to play against his England teammate when Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.

At the start of the current campaign, Townsend was being hailed as England's ace in the pack.  But after Oxlade-Chamberlain's most recent performances, it could be he who Roy Hodgson calls on when a moment of magic is required this summer.

The Daily Mail has today published a story that claims Townsend is wary of missing out on a place at this summer's World Cup due to the form of both the Arsenal winger and Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling.

Both have been in majestic form recently, with Sterling in particular moving up a level as the Reds attempt to claim the Premier League title.  Townsend, on the other hand, has missed a large portion of the season through injury and has been used sparingly by Tim Sherwood since his return to the side.

So considering the three players' contributions when they have been on the pitch, should Townsend really be worried about missing out on Brazil 2014 altogether?

PlayerPosGoals / appsGoal Assist / appsKey Pass / appsAccurate Cross / appsAccurate Pass / appsAppsMins
Raheem Sterling MF 0.26 0.13 1.39 0.26 19.22 23 1,501
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain MF 0.25 0.13 0.38 0.25 21.13 8 285
Andros Townsend MF 0.06 0 1.28 0.78 20.78 18 1,059

In terms of goals and assists, Sterling and Oxlade-Chamberlain are both well ahead of the Spurs winger, while the Liverpool man has also played more key passes than Townsend.  

There is not much to choose between the three men when it comes to accurate passes, bu Townsend excels in terms of accurate crosses per match; something that Hodgson will no doubt take note of given the importance of such things in the world's biggest football competition.

For that alone, Townsend could be a vital choice.  As it is one thing having the pace and guile to get in to a crossing position, and quite another to deliver an effective one.

PlayerPosWon Contest / appsWas Fouled / appsInterception Won / appsWon Tackle / appsAppsMins
Andros Townsend MF 3.22 1.39 0.28 0.89 18 1,059
Raheem Sterling MF 2.48 2.00 0.65 1.13 23 1,501
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain MF 1.38 0.63 0.25 0.38 8 285

Townsend is also head-and-shoulders above his two potential rivals for an England place in terms of dribbles won, while he also wins a higher percentage of tackles per game than either of the other men.

However, Sterling has won more free-kicks and made more interceptions, which bodes well when it comes to both forcing chances from set-pieces and carrying out his defensive duties.

But in truth, the only thing preventing Townsend from making the final squad is match-fitness.  His ability to cross, dribble and win tackles means that when fit and firing, he cannot be ignored.

It is imperative Townsend is given the games to shine between now and the end of the season, but in terms of the contribution he makes when he is there, Hodgson is unlikely to ignore that.

After all, it is better to have more catalysts on the pitch and on bench than players without the spark needed to change things when required.

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