Cartilage Free Captain is reviewing each of Spurs' first team players and evaluating their season. The series continues today with Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend.
Minutes played: 2,010
What went right?
In a hugely important year for the young attacker, Townsend showed greater restraint at the end of his moves. While still letting rip with the occasional 25-yarder, he cut down on the number of speculative attempts considerably. A great example of this was his late addition in a victory against Sunderland at White Hart Lane. Tied heading into the last fifteen minutes of regular time, he came on and ran his fullback ragged, eventually creating the winning goal by cutting the ball back into a good space with Christian Eriksen providing the strike. Many argued that he was not passing to Eriksen, rather he misplaced a pass to Harry Kane. That overlooks his awareness in that situation to cut the ball back and the deviation from his previous "have a rip" mentality.
Townsend also had a good run of form around the turn of the new year that coincided with some of our best performances, and a deep cup run. During this time he proved himself to be a capable and willing penalty taker, filling that role nicely during a stretch when the club really needed it.
What went wrong?
Despite reducing his speculative blasts from distance, Townsend still made numerous errors in judgment on the pitch. His tendency to dribble with his head down, or to forego a simple pass for a difficult dribble attempt, often resulted in missed opportunities. While not as pervasive a problem as previous campaigns, it still hinders his play and the team's.
Perhaps the most unfortunate turn of events for him was the knock that kept him out of the team when he returned from international duty late in the year. Reinserted into the lineup in his absence was Erik Lamela. Lamela proceeded to kick on and begin to show his talent more consistently, creating even less minutes for Townsend in an already competitive situation.
This is a difficult question. Townsend does not bring the creativity of an Eriksen or Lamela. He does not have the finishing ability of Nacer Chadli. Andros Townsend may be what he is going to be at this point. The only way that he will turn into a fixture in the Premier League starting XI is through long-term injury, a horrible loss of form for one of the starters, or if he learns to be a much better passer and finisher from open play. Aside from a major development in one of those categories, the soon to be 24 year old will be one of the first options off the bench and a nice rotation starter.
There are worse things to be in world.
Grade: 3 Chirpys