He may not have enjoyed the best of starts to his Crystal Palace career in the run-up to Christmas but Andros Townsend has been speaking about the impact Sam Allardyce and his coaching staff have had on his mental state in the months since their arrival.
Anyone with a solid understanding of English football will know that the last few years of Townsend’s career have been a rather unpredictable ride. Having endured a topsy turvy relationship with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, the wide man managed to escape the ignominy of a regular place in the U21s by moving to Newcastle United, only to get itchy feet once again when the Magpies lost out in their battle against the drop that summer.
That period of his career was supposedly put behind him when he put pen to paper on a long-term deal with Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace a few weeeks later but with both the team and Andros in poor form, the manager lost his job, leaving Townsend feeling somewhat rudderless once again.
It was only when Sam Allardyce and his coaching staff arrived that the winger saw a light at the end of the tunnel; thriving from the backing and advice given to him by Big Sam and more specifically Sammy Lee, the £10 million man seemed to turn a corner almost immediately from which he hasn’t looked back since.
As supporters it’s easy to criticise players (especially new arrivals) if they are consistently playing below the level expected of them but as Townsend’s case highlights, the reasons behind a drop off in performance are often far more nuanced than anyone on the outside looking in could ever realise.
The interview attached above is well worth a few minutes of your time, not least because of the honesty shown by Andros throughout. It would be easy for him to shy away and shift the blame elsewhere (the England manager has been more than happy to this week after all) but instead, he meets his own deficiencies head on and speaks about the efforts he’s making to ensure that they don’t reappear in the future.
The last couple of months have seen the England man producing the sort of football we all expected when Steve Parish splashed the cash on him last summer, hopefully this is just the start.