Sherwood: Townsend will come good
5:58am Tuesday 14th January 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood is confident Andros Townsend has the character to regain full match fitness and play his way into the England World Cup squad.
The winger has been sidelined with a hamstring problem since before Christmas and had been set to feature for Spurs' Under-21s against Newcastle at Bishop's Stortford on Monday evening, but his comeback has been put on hold after the match was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
With Arsenal forward Theo Walcott suffering a serious knee injury which ended his own World Cup dreams, the door would seem to open for Townsend to secure his seat on the plane to Brazil, having impressed when handed his opportunity for the senior England team during the final qualifying fixtures.
And Sherwood sees no reason why the Spurs academy product cannot enjoy a successful end to the season for both club and country.
"Andros backs himself to be better than anyone else in the world, that is the sort of character he is. He needs to get himself fit and firing again and I am sure you will see the best of it," said Sherwood, whose side beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
"I have known him since he was a kid and he is a good lad. He is a top trainer and he wants to be playing in every minute of every game, but he will get his opportunities and I am sure he will be productive between now and the end of the season for us.
Sherwood, who took over from the sacked Andre Villas-Boas in December, feels Townsend can offer something different.
"He wants to play wide and attack people. Wherever you put him on the pitch he will try and take people on," said the Spurs boss.
"He can still learn from others and Aaron (Lennon) for instance at how to be more responsible when you are tracking back. Also other players can learn from Andros at how direct you can be at times as there's no point playing safe. The kid doesn't know how to play safe. He wants to put people on their backside and does it a lot of times.
"He can learn more, but who are we judging him on? We are not judging him against Bale or Ronaldo at the moment, but you can certainly judge him against anything in the England squad.
"Give me a wide player in the England squad and I will give pros and cons for both of them. I am not going to be biased towards my own players.
"Obviously I like Andros and I know what his qualities are. He gets past people, he makes goals and he can score goals.
"He needs to slow himself down on his shooting and he knows that, but he is probably one of the most two-footed players in that squad. He cuts in from the left and shoots with the right, he does the same on the other side and is probably more accurate on his right side than he is on the left."
Sherwood worked with the Spurs academy before moving to the first-team set-up and sees no reason why the club should not give some of its promising youngsters a chance - just as he has done with 19-year-old France midfielder Nabil Bentaleb.
"My job in the development phase - I was banging on the door all the time for a lot of the boys. I now know that the manager has his head on his block and it is up to him to make that decision," he said.
"If the club are buying players and have got more comfort with the international players who are coming in, they have got to go that way and can only go with what they trust.
"I don't think anyone gave Andros more opportunity than Andre, and he was a foreign coach.
"Andros really did take his opportunity under Andre, and it is (all about) the football club where they are at."