On target

It seems he can do no wrong at the moment, but Andros Townsend knows he can take nothing for granted over the next seven months as Roy Hodgson looks to select his final group for the trip to South America.

Winger Andros Townsend knows the impressive start to his England career will count for nothing if he lets his standards slip with Tottenham over the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old again produced a positive display in the 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley, which saw England claim top spot in their World Cup qualifying group and with it a place at the finals in Brazil.

Townsend scored on his full England debut against Montenegro four days earlier, and completed a dream few days by then signing a new four-year contract at White Hart Lane.

He was also on target for Spurs at Aston Villa recently and it seems he can do no wrong at the moment, but Townsend knows he can take nothing for granted over the next seven months as Roy Hodgson looks to select his final group for the trip to South America.

“It was fantastic to help my country get to a World Cup and it’s now up to me to go back to my club and keep playing well and book my place on the plane,” he said.

“I have to keep playing well in every game for Spurs. I can’t think about the World Cup, I have to focus on my Tottenham performances. If I have a couple of bad games there are world-class players that can come in. I know if I’m to get on the plane I have to keep playing well, for Tottenham, for England in the friendlies, it’s not going to be easy. I have a tough six months in front of me and hard competition for places, but I am relishing it.”

Townsend revealed how the senior players in the England squad helped him settle so quickly.

“Everyone has been giving me advice — (Steven) Gerrard, (Frank) Lampard and (Wayne) Rooney. They are all world-class players at the top of their game, so I have been delighted to come in and not only play at Wembley, but to play alongside them,” he said.

“I will take the advice they gave me back to the club and hopefully keep playing well.”

Hodgson has confirmed his intention to use England’s remaining friendlies this season to give younger players a chance to stake their claim on a place in the final squad.

Townsend feels the latest crop of youngsters can only stand the Three Lions in good stead.

“Over the last year or so there has been a lot of talk about a lack of English talent, but you saw there was (Daniel) Sturridge, (Danny) Welbeck, Jack) Wilshere, so we do have fantastic players coming through,” he said.

“It is great for the country, not only for the present, but the future.”

Wilshere is indeed one of England’s brightest talents, but he has had a rough time recently and Townsend must be wary of being scrutinised in the same way after raising his profile with his England displays.

After being pictured smoking outside a nightclub, Arsenal midfielder Wilshere then caused controversy with his comments over national eligibility.

The fact that he also made headlines for urinating up against a bush during an open training session shows how much scrutiny England players are under these days.

From now on, Townsend’s life will never be the same again. His every move both on the pitch and in his private life will come under the microscope and Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has warned him to continue working hard so he avoids the same off-the-field problems.

“Obviously when you get public and media recognition you have to tolerate it,” said Villas-Boas. “He has to step up his game. I suppose Jack Wilshere falls into that category. He is a great product of English football. Sometimes they are chased, sometimes a victim and sometimes guilty. But at these moments you have to stay strong with your personality and continue to perform for club and country.”

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