The key factor behind Townsend's lack of development at Spurs?

Andros Townsend has not developed as well as his fellow Tottenham Hotspur academy graduates.

Spurs have built a new-look side this term, utilising academy graduates Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason to good effect and winning plenty of plaudits for their attacking style of play.

Both current head coach Mauricio Pochettino and former boss Tim Sherwood have been awarded rightful praise for bringing through the young, soon-to-be England stars, although there is one player who has seemingly lagged behind his fellow home-grown stars.

Andros Townsend broke onto the scene earlier than Kane, Mason and Bentaleb, and, for a short while, was considered England’s brightest prospect. However, things have seemingly not progressed as hoped for the England international winger and he is a rare sight in Tottenham starting line-ups now. The 23-year-old has started just seven Premier League games this season, and it is hard to see where it has all gone wrong for him while his younger teammates have flourished.

However, there could be one simple reason why Townsend has not developed at the same rate as his teammates - a lack of playing time.

Despite breaking onto the scene last season, and playing more games than Kane, Mason and Bentaleb, Townsend has actually completed fewer minutes of professional football than two of that trio.

Bentaleb has the highest number of completed minutes to his name, whereas Kane is slightly behind him. Townsend, despite figuring in three more games than Kane, has completed almost 400 fewer minutes than the striker.

It is only Mason who has fewer minutes to his name overall, with 217 less than Townsend, but he has only become a first-team player this season, and has played 16 fewer games.

  Minutes PlayedAppearances
Nabil Bentaleb 2366 31
Harry Kane 2186 34
Andros Townsend 1796 37
Ryan Mason 1579 21

It is well known that players progress at a faster rate when faced with competitive action, and that is why young players are often left aside for established professionals. However, when given the chance to shine, many do, and Kane, Bentaleb and Mason are the best example of this.

It is not wise to say that Townsend would have become a world beater if given more chances to impress in the Tottenham first-team, but there is a clear correlation between the development of the current Spurs team and how much playing time youngsters have received. Townsend should not be written off yet as a prospect, but, at the age of 23, one would expect him to receive fewer opportunities than before - and that could spell the end of his White Hart Lane career.

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