Newcastle United new boy Andros Townsend says it was England boss Roy Hodgson who convinced him to leave Tottenham Hotspur. The 24-year-old has not made a single Premier League start this season, having slipped down the pecking order at White Hart Lane.
Townsend was banished to the Spurs Under-21 side for much of the campaign after falling out with trainer Nathan Gardiner following the win over Aston Villa in November. The former Leeds United winger impressed for the club's second string – notably scoring twice against Chelsea – performances that have won him a switch to the north east.
The winger's lack of appearances this season had threatened his participation in the upcoming European Championship, with Townsend in line to miss out on selection in Hodgson's squad. But according to the player it was Hodgson himself who triggered his exit from Tottenham to Newcastle, which is likely to improve his international aspirations.
"The last time I was with the England set-up the manager said 'I think you need to move [from Tottenham] now – a player like you needs to be playing week in, week out. At your age the only way you're going to improve is with games'," he told TalkSport, according to the Evening Standard. "I think it was obvious a change was needed and I'm delighted I've been given the opportunity to play for Newcastle United."
With Newcastle not involved in the FA Cup this weekend, Townsend must wait until the trip to Everton on 3 February for his Toon debut. He is set to come face-to-face with former club Spurs on the final day of the campaign in May when Mauricio Pochettino's side visit St James' Park.
Two points from safety and deep in a relegation battle, the addition of Townsend is set to boost Newcastle's survival hopes. Manager Steve McClaren is thrilled to have acquired the England international. "Bringing Andros to the club is a great signing," he told the Magpies' official website. "He is a very good talent who is a current England international and should be one for years to come, too.
"Andros is a winger with an old-fashioned style. He can play on the right or the left, is two-footed, quick, very direct and loves taking on defenders and crossing the ball. He has a good attitude. Andros feels he has a lot to prove and I can't wait to see him do that in a Newcastle shirt.
"Andros isn't fulfilling his potential at the moment and that's why we have brought him here. We see a lot more from Andros and are giving him a tremendous platform at St. James' Park to do that. He's been playing under-21 games, which I have watched, he is fit and will have a week's training with us, so there's no problems about him being ready. He will play straight away."