Soon enough André Villas-Boas is going to have to decide what to do Andros Townsend.
Andros Townsend - The Player
Townsend's more natural position is left wing. He has shown great versatility in his short stint at QPR. In his first game against Norwich he was deployed on the left for the first 45 minutes. At half-time, Redknapp, told Townsend to switch over to the right hand side. He hasn't looked back since then. In the 45 minutes he spent on the right, he received 20 passes compared to only 11 in the first half on the left. That stat on its own doesn't look too stellar. However it's the position Townsend received the ball in that is most pertinent.
Townsend received the ball in the attacking third 3 times in the first half. In the second half he received the ball 7 times in the attacking third, 3 of which were in line with the edge of the box. Townsend created only one chance from in this game and guess where it came from. The right hand side of the pitch. It was a delightful cross right onto the head of Bobby Zamora that really should have given QPR all three points but Zamora wasn't able to convert.
One aspect of Tottenham Hotspur's game that has come into the limelight recently is the need for our wingers to track-back and help out the full-backs. During the Norwich game Townsend succeeded in 2 tackles, 0 interceptions as well as a headed clearance. Compare this to Aaron Lennon's stats versus Arsenal; 1 tackle, 1 interception and 1 headed clearance.
Wingers breed off confidence. If they think they can take you on, they will and they will breeze past the full-back. One thing Harry Redknapp is good at is instilling a confidence in his players. Against Sunderland, Townsend attempted 9 dribbles. To put that in perspective, Gareth Bale only attempted 3 dribbles against West Ham and 5 against Arsenal. Townsend had the most shots of any player on the pitch versus Sunderland, 4. It is clear to see how confidence has helped Townsend.
Townsend has all the ingredients to be a great player. But going from being the main-man (or feeling like you're the main man) at a club can be difficult, as evidenced by Clint Dempsey. So where does he fit in at Spurs?
On the left?
Townsend is a player in the mold of Arjen Robben. He is best suited to the playing on the right and cutting in. He scored a sublime goal versus Carlisle that exemplified this. He could be a useful player to deploy on the left but the only time I've seen him there was the first-half versus Norwich and a couple of youth games. In the youth games, he impressed me massively but that isn't a good litmus test of a player's quality. Against Norwich, he didn't get involved in the game at all, part due to the five fouls he suffered from the Norwich players but also part due to being unsuited to the role. According to the influence map below, Townsend had the least influence of any QPR player.
I'm saying no to this one.
Loan him out?
Townsend has proven that he is Premier League quality so in my opinion all loaning him will do is stagnant his career. Loaning him to a team that isn't a rival would mean loaning him to a team in a relegation battle, he will outgrow that stage
I'm saying no to this one
Get Him to be Lennon's Deputy
I think this is the best option. Recently, our lack of cover on the wings has been all too clear. We need one if not two players to act as cover on the wings. Townsend is the perfect player to act as cover. He can do job a job on both wings but he's best on the right. Against weary legs, he will run the opposition ragged. Even against fresh legs, he's running circles around them.
What do you think we should do with Townsend? Have your say in the comments below.