Spurs main motive in the last transfer window was to reduce the wage bill and part of that involved sending players out on loan. Whilst it seemed a good move for up and coming players like Alex Pritchard, the same may not also be said for Andros Townsend.
On the one hand, the move to QPR will gain him much-needed experience of playing regularly in the Premier League. This is an especially important step up after spending a major portion of last season on loan in the Championship. Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and Steven Caulker have all recently done the Championship then Premiership loan and they are now first team regulars.
On the other hand, the loan takes away a viable option to provide cover for Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale on the wings. Andros Townsend has already enjoyed playing time on several occasions in the Premier League, Capital One Cup and Europa League. Whilst players like Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby are versatile, they are not true wide-men like Townsend. If we’re to continue our push for a Champions League place, then we will need options here.
Although he’s only been on loan for two matches at QPR, Andros Townsend has already shown that he can play at this level, gaining the man-of-the-match award in his first game. But what’s more than this is that he has shown his great versatility to play on either flank, something that could have benefited Spurs.
Andros Townsend shows his versatility against Norwich
In his very first match for QPR, Andros Townsend showed just what a versatile player he is, as he switched wings against Norwich.
He started off on the left, his more natural side, but after Shaun Wright-Phillips was taken off to bring on another striker, he switched over to the right.
QPR struggled out of the gates in the first half and were nullified by a Norwich team that were content to sit back and stifle the play. As a result, Andros Townsend struggled to get forward before the interval and didn’t complete a cross with only Jamie Mackie to aim for,
In the second half he was switched over to the right, as QPR brought a target man in Bobby Zamora on. With the Rs now forcing the pace, Andros Townsend enjoyed much more of the ball. He put two shots on target, striking one with either foot, whilst also crossing to Zamora who could only put his header wide.
Andros Townsend is also a dribbler and what was also noticeable at this level was that he still retained his ability to go past players. This is something that Spurs’ head of football development Tim Sherwood believes is one of his greatest strengths.
“If Andros is tackled by the full‑back 10 times, he’ll beat him the 11th and win you the game.”
Andros Townsend plays both flanks at Swansea
After showing his versatility against Norwich, Andros Townsend once again played on both flanks when QPR travelled to Swansea last weekend.
This time, with Jamie Mackie starting on the left, Andros Townsend played down the right side of Harry Redknapp’s 4-2-3-1 formation in the first half.
QPR again started slowly and were unable to trouble Swansea from an attacking perspective with Adel Taarabt playing as a false nine. Andros Townsend ended up doing a lot of work in his own part of the field and only attempted one ball in to the box, which was unsuccessful.
After the interval, Bobby Zamora came in to the action once more and QPR came in to the game as a result of having a target man, just as they had done against Norwich.
As a result of now having a central number nine, Andros Townsend again had a better second half and was able to get further up the field. He put in three balls in to the box and although none were successful, showed his ability to ghost past players and get in to good crossing positions.
He also continued to show that he has an eye for goal, with two more shots, although neither troubled Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal.
Both a good and bad move?
Whilst the move to send Andros Townsend out on loan is the best decision for both him and Spurs in the long run, you can’t help but consider the short-term impact.
The push for Champions League football is of vital importance to provide additional revenue for the club to shape the future. Two of our most important players to get us back there are in the wide positions. Both Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon need cover whether they are rested for a game, or withdrawn without playing the full 90 minutes of matches.
Despite occasionally playing wide, both Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby are better through the centre. Clint Dempsey can play from wider, but comes inside, rather than being a player who can beat a man and supply a cross. Andros Townsend is not only a more natural wide player, but provides cover on both sides.
The form of Andros Townsend so far for QPR has shown that he is a player with a bright future and that he will benefit the club in the longer term as a result of the loan. However, with a concerted push for the Champions League places and to avoid the team burning out like last season, the future for Spurs with Andros Townsend should’ve been now.