Beckham, a former Spurs trainee in his younger years, represented England 115 times during a glittering career at the top level.
And Townsend believes that the former Real Madrid, Manchester United and PSG man is England's greatest player of his generation.
"I'd say David Beckham, from the time I've been watching England," he said when asked who was the Three Lions' best player. "Unfortunately I came into the set-up after he retired but he was a legend.
"Not only for the free-kick against Greece, but for the penalty against Argentina in the World Cup in 2002. He's definitely been a legend for England."
Beckham's England career was littered with moments which will live forever in English football folklore, and not all of them were good.
Beckham was sent off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, and was hammered by the press for his petulance as a youngster.
However, he more than made up for that show of indiscipline over the rest of his playing days, and Townsend's praise sums up how highly thought of he is by fans and players alike.
Townsend currently has 10 caps for his country, and during those matches he has been able to score three times.