Townsend broke onto the scene last year, playing consistently well for Spurs and working his way into international recognition, but Glenn Hoddle has told Sky Sports that another player has been the reason for his lack of development.
He made his England debut against Montenegro and scored in an impressive performance, and he totalled 25 Premier League appearances for the Lilywhites, registering one goal.
There was a run of games early at the start of last term during which Townsend could do no wrong, and he looked destined to keep improving, considering his young age.
However, he has seemingly regressed since then, and he has struggled to break into Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team plans this season. He has registerd just 385 minutes of league action across 14 games this campaign, and his right-wing position in the side has been frequently filled by Erik Lamela, who is starting to impose himself on the North London club.
Despite struggling in his debut season in England, Lamela is starting to impress, and the Argentine has one goal and four assists in 19 Premier League fixtures. Although Townsend was guaranteed a starting role when Lamela arrived at White Hart Lane, the roles have since reversed, and Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle believes that it was the purchase of the 22-year-old that has stunted Townsend’s growth.
Speaking to Sky Sports prior to Tottenham’s League Cup semi-final with Sheffield United, Hoddle said: “Two or three months ago he was probably on Roy [Hodgson’s] first two or three on the England team-sheet, thats how well he was playing. He was playing well for England, and playing well for Tottenham.
"He had two games for England when he was on fire, and then [Andre Villas-Boas] left him out for three or four games. He pulled his hamstring, and since then it's gone backwards for him.
“And then, the opportunity went to a foreigner. Lamela was bought with a big reputation, and it’s a classic case of an English player, who should have been now nailed on for that England job, nailed on every week here [White Hart Lane], and exciting this crowd.
“And he hasn’t. The chance was given to Lamela, but that hasn’t quite worked out.”
Hoddle’s words do ring slightly true, but his conclusion seems misguided, with Lamela starting to put in the performances many expected of him following his signing.