While it’s been well-documented that the likes of Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela face make-or-break seasons with Tottenham next term, less has been said about Andros Townsend.
Last summer big things were expected of the Valencia hitman and Argentinean wonderkid, but they weren’t the only players being hyped up after impressive spells away from White Hart Lane.
Townsend had just returned from Queens Park Rangers where had been on loan, scoring two goals in 12 all-action appearances for the London club, though he could not prevent them from being relegated.
It was a spell that even caught the eye of Roy Hodgson, with Townsend called up to the Three Lions squad during World Cup qualification where he duly impressed again scoring in England’s 4-1 win over Montenegro – a game where he was also named man of the match.
Then Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas had seen enough, with Townsend thrust straight into the first-team action upon his return from QPR, playing well for the Lilywhites at the start of the campaign and even getting on the scoresheet for Spurs against Aston Villa in October.
However, as the season wore on, things started to turn sour not only for Townsend but also Tottenham with AVB sacked and Spurs ultimately failing to make their pre-season target of a top four finish – something that cost successor Tim Sherwood his job.
Injury curtailed his impact last term but while he did find the net against Villa in the league and on international duty, Townsend had a notably limited impact on proceedings for Spurs, scoring twice in 33 appearances for the north London club.
Criticised for his inaccurate shooting and poor team play by some supporters, a recent interview with Spurs TV highlighted the pressure Townsend is already putting himself under.
"It is a big season for me. Last year was my breakthrough for club and country and now it is important I build on that and show a lot more consistency then I did last year," he told the broadcaster in quotes republished by the Evening Standard.
"I am 23 next week, so that will come with age, and hopefully I can build on what I did last season."
Yet with midfield competition in the Tottenham squad proving fierce and Townsend requiring game time to build up both his fitness and confidence, the reality is that rather than being thrown into action for Spurs, Townsend could benefit from a season-long stay at Loftus Road.
Harry Redknapp would undoubtedly jump at the chance to bring Townsend in, having got the best out of the midfielder during his first spell at Rangers.
And having already been linked with a loan move for Lewis Holtby, it could be the ideal alternative.
Townsend, meanwhile, should certainly consider any potential offer if the midfielder is keen on staking a claim on a place in England’s squad.
Start the season poorly for Tottenham and he could find himself frozen out of Spurs and the Three Lions team but with more game time likely at QPR, it could be a case of taking one step backwards in order to move two steps forwards.
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