Andros Townsend says it was hard to leave Newcastle but admits he was unprepared to play in Championship

Newcastle United's Andros Townsend looks dejected

The winger left the relegated Magpies to join Crystal Palace earlier this summer.

Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend

Former Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend has told Sky Sports that the unwavering support of the club's fans and Rafael Benitez made it difficult to leave the club, but admitted that he was unprepared to play Championship football.

Townsend was a star for the Magpies in the second half of last season after joining in a £12 million deal from Tottenham Hotspur.

However, his form could not prevent their relegation, and after weeks of speculation he ultimately left St. James' Park for Crystal Palace in a £13 million move earlier this summer.

Andros Townsend celebrates scoring the third goal for Newcastle United

Though many Newcastle supporters were likely braced for the exit of one of their club's star men, it will still have been painful for some to see the winger leave Tyneside after his career was rejuvenated under Benitez after he had fallen so out of favour at Spurs.

Townsend admitted that the support of the supporters and Benitez made his decision to leave an incredibly tough one, but revealed that he just could not bring himself to commit to Championship football at this stage of his career.

The England international revealed to Sky Sports: "Listen, I loved every minute of it, they took me from the Under-21s at Spurs to playing Premier League football in front of 52,000, they got the best out of me.

"The fans loved me, Rafa Benitez got the best out of me and it was extremely difficult to leave where you are loved, compared to a place where you are not so loved. I had a very productive time there; unfortunately it was not enough to stay in the Premier League.

Newcastle United's Andros Townsend looks dejected

"I had to think long and hard in the summer about what I wanted to do; stay and play in the Championship did not cross my mind, in the end. I had to go with my head and not my heart. I did not want to take a drop down, especially while the options were still there in the Premier League."

Rather than staying on and possibly going on to earn full-blown hero status amongst the Toon Army, Townsend's six months on Tyneside will now likely become a mere footnote in the history of his career.

He will line up for Palace for the first time competitively when they take on West Bromwich Albion in their Premier League opener on Saturday afternoon.

Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend in action with Colchester United's Tom Lapslie

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