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Midas-touch Townsend vows to keep focus

Updated 21 Oct 2013 00:16:54

Midas-touch Townsend vows to keep focus

Andros Townsend said he was fighting to keep his feet on the ground after completing a memorable 10 days by inspiring Tottenham Hotspur to victory at Aston Villa.

In the space of a week, Townsend scored a stunning goal on his international debut, helped England qualify for the World Cup, and then signed a new four-year contract with Tottenham.

And fortune continued to shine on the 22-year-old winger on Sunday, when his first-half cross drifted into the net at Villa Park to give him his first goal for Spurs in the Premier League.

A 69th-minute strike from Roberto Soldado completed a 2-0 victory that saw Spurs climb up to fifth place in the table.

Townsend continued to torment the home side in the second half with his twisting runs and searching crosses, and after being named man of the match, he admitted that he had been dizzied by recent events.

"It's been one of the best few weeks of my life," Townsend told Sky Sports.

"Obviously scoring for my country on debut is one of the highlights of my career, but a first Premier League goal for my hometown club is pretty special too.

"The main thing for me is not to get carried away. I just need to keep putting in performances for Spurs when I get the chance."

He added: "My goal was a cross. I'm not going to take credit for (meaning) it, but it put us on the way to a great three points."

Townsend's moment in the sun was overshadowed slightly this week when it emerged that England manager Roy Hodgson had told a clumsy joke about a monkey in a bid to encourage his team-mates to pass the ball to him during Tuesday's 2-0 defeat of Poland.

Hodgson subsequently apologised, and while Townsend, who is of mixed-race origin, said he had taken no offence, he admitted that he had been "dying to get back on the pitch".

Townsend's display earned praise from manager Andre Villas-Boas, who warned that his new status would make him more of a focal point for opposition defenders.

"He's done what he's been doing excellently," Villas-Boas said.

"He takes the team forward, he has this ability to drive and jump the man whenever he takes the ball forward, so he's always a threat.

"Teams are starting to be more aware of his strengths. I think he started not really well, but improved also during the game."

Villas-Boas was also heartened by the return of Brazilian holding midfielder Sandro, who made his first league start since January after a long spell on the sidelines with a ligament injury.

"Great, great performance," the Portuguese said.

"At the time he got injured last season, he was the best ball-recoverer of the Premier League and I think we saw his power today (Sunday).

"He really controlled the midfield, he wins so many balls, and it's great to see him back."

Villa manager Paul Lambert was encouraged by the return of last season's top scorer Christian Benteke, who produced a purposeful 30-minute cameo on his comeback from a hip problem.

"He's been out for about a month now. He's only trained a couple of days with Belgium and ourselves," Lambert said.

"He's just back and he'll score many goals for us, that's for sure."

Defeat brought Villa's three-game unbeaten streak to an end, but Lambert said he had seen clear signs of progress.

"I've seen it since the start of the season, the progress that's been made," said the Scot, whose side are 13th in the table.

"If we play like that, we'll win more games than not."


AFP

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