Townsend to Newcastle exactly the signing McClaren needs

Date published: Tuesday 26th January 2016 11:20

Andros Townsend: Winger was frozen out at Tottenham

With Newcastle set to sign Andros Townsend, Rob Conlon suggests the winger is exactly the type of signing Steve McClaren should make.

The atmosphere around Newcastle United reached a nadir for the best part of the last two years.

Public enemy number one remains owner Mike Ashley, whose sole ambition appears to stretch as far as ensuring the Magpies –  the third-best supported club in England last season – simply stay in the Premier League so he can reap the financial rewards.

Last season the hugely unpopular Alan Pardew was disastrously replaced by John Carver, who almost guided Newcastle straight into the second tier, only avoiding relegation by the skin of his teeth.

And on the pitch the North-East side have struggled to escape the clutches of the relegation zone.

Players are undoubtedly shirking their responsibilities – and who can forget Carver’s astonishing claim that Mike Williamson got himself deliberately sent off in a 3-0 home defeat to Leicester last term?

Mike Williamson

Despite the appointment of Steve McClaren in the summer, little appears to have changed. November’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Foxes has prompted yet another manager to question the commitment of his squad.

According to The Telegraph, the former England boss and his coaching staff have been involved in a number of “extremely heated exchanges” with senior players at training, accusing the likes of Fabricio Coloccini of only performing when the pressure is off – quite a problem when the pressure is always on at Tyneside.

McClaren, who has already brought in Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey is now hoping to make Tottenham winger Andros Townsend his next addition.

At first this sounds like a terrible fit – Townsend is hardly known for his exemplary attitude and was recently dropped by Mauricio Pochettino after clashing with Spurs fitness coach Nathan Gardiner.

However, while a move would undoubtedly be a gamble, such a transfer could suit both parties perfectly.

Despite being in and out of the Spurs first-team, the 24-year-old has always remained popular with England manager Roy Hodgson, and has often produced his best football for the national team.

Hodgson was more or less forced into leaving Townsend out of his latest squad for the friendlies with Spain and France due to his lack of football at White Hart Lane, but still expressed his admiration for the winger.

“Andros Townsend will remain for us a player that we keep a close eye on because he has done well for us when he has been with the England squad. On this occasion, I can take 23 players. Andros has not been playing for Tottenham, not been getting much football and, to be honest, it would have been hard to look beyond [Eric] Dier and [Dele] Alli on this occasion,” he said.

With Euro 2016 on the horizon, it is in the interest of both the player and manager for the former QPR and Leeds flyer to make Newcastle his 11th club.

Andros Townsend

Meanwhile, the Magpies are crying out for a player to excite the fans. The Toon Army don’t need much encouragement to show their passion, but as things stand there is next to no inspiration on the pitch.

For a team renown for the flair of the likes of Paul Gascoigne, David Ginola and even Hatem Ben Arfa in the past, the current crop of players are startlingly devoid of any form of spark.

A motivated Townsend, out to prove a point to both Hodgson and Pochettino, could become a hero at St James’ Park. As he has began to stagnate at Tottenham, he himself will know his next move could be his final chance to prove he can cut it for a big club in the Premier League.

Judging by some of Newcastle’s signings during the Ashley era, McClaren could do a lot worse than offer Townsend an escape route from White Hart Lane.

Rob Conlon

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