COMMENTARY | Odds are that the name Dinamo Tbilisi will leave the minds of all Tottenham Hotspur supporters immediately after the second leg of the Europa League Playoff that is now a formality following yesterday's 5-0 Spurs victory.
Tottenham taking care of business away from home against an over-matched opponent made for a fun distraction from the Gareth Bale transfer saga that refuses to come to an end. More important, those 90+ minutes provided multiple glimpses of what could be to come from a 22-year-old who hasn't yet entered his prime.
The truth about Andros Townsend is that he wasn't quite as good during his loan spell at Queens Park Rangers as some would lead you to believe. He undeniably produced some quality moments in his 12 appearances with the now second-tier side, but he only had a hand in three total goals from February through the end of the 2012-13 season. His leaving Spurs at any point this summer wouldn't have been much cause for any reaction either way before Thursday evening.Townsend has had a solid month, starting with the friendly against Monaco back on August 3. What some have labeled to be his "Taxi for Maicon" game, one that consisted of Townsend scoring a goal and assisting on two others, was as much a product of Spurs playing against a lesser opponent as it was Townsend's so-called arrival. All would do well to remember that Bale's famous night came against what was, at the time, one of the world's top teams and in the world's top club competition.
Townsend tore apart a bunch of guys most of us have never heard of.
Looking back at this past weekend's Tottenham at Crystal Palace match, and also considering all of the transfer rumors that are swirling about, it's difficult to imagine Townsend in the starting lineup outside of European and cup fixtures. Gylfi Sigurdsson is likely to be replaced, but by a new signing who hasn't yet joined the club. Those calling for Townsend to immediately supersede Aaron Lennon have apparently forgotten how great of a two-way player the speedster was last season.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has made it clear since day one with the club that he is not merely interested in leading Spurs back to Champions League football. He wants to win trophies, and that means having as deep a squad as possible. Having Townsend on FA Cup weekends and Europa League Thursdays would be plus for most EPL sides, but it's a safe bet that he is going to want first-team football, especially now that he has, intentionally or not, called out to would-be suitors through a few solid performances.
Townsend is, at this very moment, very much so a case of could/will-be. The promise is definitely there, but he has a ways to go before he is routinely playing alongside the likes of Roberto Soldado and Paulinho. How patient he and the club are willing to be will largely determine Townsend's club come the first Monday of September.
One thing we've seen from Villas-Boas over the past 12 months is that he's been very open to giving every player in the squad a chance to shine. Michael Dawson was, according to many reports, out of favor at the club one year ago before impressing AVB to the point that he was not only restored to the lineup, but once again named team captain. There's an argument to be made that Villas-Boas was responsible for Lennon and, yes, the previously mentioned Bale having the best seasons of their professional careers.
Townsend could be in for big things while wearing Tottenham Lilywhite if AVB is prepared to take on another project.
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Gareth Bale
- Andros Townsend