Since leaving Tottenham to join Newcastle, the England international has been playing every week and his performances are improving as a result. He is central to Newcastle’s chances of survival and he is relishing in such a role. After hardly playing in the first half of the season, he would have thought his chances of getting into Roy Hodgson’s squad this summer were slim. However, a combination of other’s poor form and his own resurgence, support for Townsend is beginning to grow.
Hodgson has always been a big fan of the winger, who has picked up ten caps under this regime, scoring three international goals in the process. Hodgson has already said that it is unlikely that players will gatecrash his squad unless they have played a part in qualification, but Townsend is one who has a genuine chance. The likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling have been poor, especially in the second half of the season. If Hodgson is picking on form, he has to be thinking about Townsend, who is consistently delivering the goods for Newcastle in a highly pressured situation.
As a Newcastle player, Townsend has four goals and two assists in 11 matches, which gives him a goal involvement every 151.5 minutes. This is really good, especially when you consider that he plays in a team fighting relegation. Across this season, his rivals for a place in the England squad have done significantly worse. Theo Walcott has five goals and two assists, with a goal involvement every 191.9 minutes. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has one goal and no assists, and is no longer seen as part of the future at Arsenal, with many expecting him to leave this summer. Meanwhile Raheem Sterling has also faced critics in his first season with Manchester City. He has six goals and two assists, with a goal involvement every 237.5 minutes.
The above highlights the impact that Townsend has had at Newcastle, which hadn’t been noticed until the weekend, when his superb free kick lifted the Magpies out of the relegation zone. He has also been creative, as well as scoring goals himself. In a Newcastle shirt, he has created a chance, every 43.2 minutes, which is better than Walcott (79.4), Oxlade-Chamberlain (49.2) and Sterling (54.3).
England need to take players who have confidence this summer. In the past, we have taken players who have been big names, but have played within themselves at tournaments, due to being in poor form. This summer, England will have players from Tottenham and Leicester, all at the top of their game and they need to supplement those with others in good form. England have a great opportunity to take the feel good factor of this season into the European Championships and use it to their advantage. To do this, they must take players like Townsend over those out of form.