Andros Townsend backed to shoulder pressure by Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas
The winger was hugely impressive in England's two recent victories
Friday 18 October 2013
Andre Villas-Boas has no doubt Andros Townsend will be able to shoulder the pressure of being England's next big thing.
Townsend's stock has risen sharply over the last fortnight thanks to his explosive international debut against Montenegro and an impressive showing against Poland four days later.
The 22-year-old's place in the Tottenham squad was in doubt at the start of the season but now he is seen as England's brightest emerging star.
Jack Wilshere was afforded that tag after he burst on to the scene with Arsenal a couple of years ago while players like David Bentley have crashed and burned under the weight of expectation.
Townsend got a taste of how fierce the spotlight on England can be this week when he found himself - through no fault of his own - in the middle of a race row.
Villas-Boas knows Townsend's every move will be scrutinised over the next seven months in the build-up to the World Cup, but he is sure the player will be able to cope.
"That is part of growing up as a player," the Tottenham manager said.
"I would suppose that wouldn't divert his attention too much.
"I expect him to be the same player. There are going to be more people worried about him, he will be more in the public eye and they will demand performances from him and I expect him to respond.
"Most of his colleagues are down to earth, he is in the right environment for his development and I think we have to help him in that sense."
Townsend had to go through nine loan spells before he got his first crack at regular first-team football with Spurs this season.
And the main reason the 22-year-old has had an extended run in the first team is because of an injury to Aaron Lennon, who is now fit and in contention for Sunday's game at Aston Villa.
Villas-Boas was concerned that Townsend's experience with the international team would be counter-productive.
The Portuguese feared the winger would go down the same route as Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone, who received call-ups and were then quickly discarded.
Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will come back in to the reckoning by the time the World Cup comes around, but Villas-Boas is sure Townsend will feature for England for a long time to come so long as he keeps impressing for his club.
The Portuguese added: "We're very proud of what he has done, (we have) seen him play with so much confidence and determination he's really set his place in the team, for Tottenham and for his country.
"It's performances like this that keep your place in the team.
"Whenever he's been called up by myself or Roy he's given great performances. At the moment we're very happy with what he's been doing and I think Roy thinks the same.
"It's wonderful for him. He's come along with the explosion he had in the Premier League, not just with Tottenham but with his country.
"He is doing extremely well for club and country and deserves credit."
Townsend may find it easier to get in to the England team than the Spurs XI.
Lennon is available for the trip to Villa Park this weekend while £30million signing Erik Lamela is itching for a league start.
Villas-Boas is looking for his team to bounce back in the Midlands following their shock 3-0 defeat to West Ham before the international break.
"That definitely was a call to attention for us," Villas-Boas said.
"Everything is open this season, it showed us that surprise results can happen.
"We analysed that game with the squad yesterday when everyone got back and made sure we're able to give a response against Villa and going forward."
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