Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend appears no closer to winning over manager Mauricio Pochettino and completing a first team return after making a third appearance in a row for the club's Under-21 side. The 24-year-old scored an 83rd-minute equaliser from the penalty spot to claim a 1-1 draw with Everton but without a senior appearance since October Townsend continues to live on the periphery at White Hart Lane.
Townsend has not played for Spurs since a public falling out with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner, a spat which saw him dropped from the first team squad. The former Leeds United loanee asked to be put in the club's Under-21 side in order to build up his match fitness but his sustained presence in the reserve team calls into question his role particularly in light of the typically busy upcoming festive schedule.
Starting against Southampton on 19 December, Tottenham face four games in the space of 16 days which include meetings with Norwich City, Watford and Everton. Pochettino would be expected to utilise all areas of his squad however Townsend's constant omission works as a stark message to the wideman. The player has been linked with an £8m ($12m) move to Newcastle United in the January transfer window, according to The Daily Mail.
In two years Townsend has gone from an integral part of the Tottenham and England team to an outsider and on 14 December was condemned to an appearance at Southport's near-empty Merseyrail Community Stadium as the north Londoners travelled to Everton. Liam Walsh gave the hosts the lead before Townsend struck a late spot kick to leave coach Ugo Ehiogu encouraged by his contribution.
"I thought we were a little slow out of the traps but after that we played some magnificent stuff, competed, dominated the ball and it's probably the best we've played in patches – just without that killer instinct," the Tottenham Under-21 coach told the club's official website.
"There were some pleasing aspects out there. Cameron Carter-Vickers was magnificent, defended stoutly, made the right decisions on the ball, played it and knew when to clear, Milos Veljkovic was composed, Shaq Coulthirst gave us a platform to play up to by holding the ball up, Andros got regular crosses into the box and the substitutes had a real impact.
"Will Miller gave us a bit of bite and Emmanuel Sonupe was electric in the time he was on, he looked quick, dangerous and had end product – everything we'd spoken to him about. Everyone could see we deserved something out of the game and we're disappointed not to have won it because we had enough opportunities in and around the box, you're just hoping something falls for you."