Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Townsend Delighted to Make Critics Eat Words

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Townsend Delighted to Make Critics Eat Words

Article excerpt

ANDROS Townsend is looking forward to hearing what Paul Merson has to say for himself after he responded to jibes from the former Arsenal midfielder in the best way possible.

After Harry Kane's heroics against Lithuania, it was Townsend's turn to play the role of England super sub against Italy on Tuesday night.

The Tottenham winger scored a stunning equaliser from 20 yards, nine minutes after entering the pitch at the Juventus Stadium.

Within minutes of the 1-1 draw finishing, Townsend took to Twitter to poke fun at Merson, who said the 23-year-old should be "nowhere near the (England) squad" after an inconsistent year with Tottenham. Townsend hit back by posting: "Not bad for a player that should be 'nowhere near the squad' ay @Paul-Merse ?" Townsend's father Troy got in on the act too, tweeting "Oh ye of little faith #Merson Get in..........."

Merson was quiet on Tuesday night, and Townsend cannot wait to hear how he responds.

"I am eagerly awaiting it," the winger said with a smile that did not disappear for one second during his round of post-match interviews.

"As soon as the squad was announced two weeks ago, it has been going over in my head. He said it when the squad was announced - that I should be nowhere near the squad.

"As soon as the goal went in, I was just desperate to get that tweet out!

"It didn't really annoy me. It had kind of just given me the extra incentive to silence a few critics - and hopefully I have done that as I always have done."

Townsend has had enough highs and lows in his career to know the sweet right-foot drive into the bottom corner of Gianluigi Buffon's goal does not mean the critics will be silenced forever.

Less than a year after scoring an equally breath-taking goal on his international debut against Montenegro in October 2013, Townsend could not hold down a first-team place at Spurs, let alone England.

Townsend started just two Barclays Premier League games before the turn of the year, but he is now a regular under Mauricio Pochettino. A level-headed and grounded young man, he knows competition is so tough at club and international level he must continue improving. …

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