Tottenham Hotspurs winger Andros Townsend is eager to put his injury nightmares behind him to prove to Mauricio Pochettino he deserves a starting role in his line-up. The England international admitted he has had a frustrating time on the side-lines but after making a late cameo in the victory over Sunderland on Sunday (13 September) he declares he is "fully fit" to battle with the new Spurs signings for a place in the manager's plans.
The 24-year-old academy star enjoyed an impressive 2013-14 campaign under both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood but has struggled to recapture that form since an injury left him out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Having only made 10 Premier League starting appearances under Pochettino last season, the winger was expecting to overcome the situation in the new campaign with a good pre-season. However, he missed the tour of the United States due to injuries which kept him out of action in the first four Premier League games of the campaign.
"I was out for all but the first week and a half of pre-season. I dislocated a bone in my shoulder and then tweaked a ligament in my ankle, and those injuries wiped me out until a couple of weeks ago. It's been a frustrating time but I'm fully fit and hopefully I can have more performances like the one at Sunderland," he said to Standard Sport. "I got myself fit over the international break, which was a great chance for me to train every day. I was chomping at the bit on the bench [against Sunderland] and got my chance. Hopefully, I showed everyone what I could do."
Townsend had Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli, and Erik Lamela ahead of him in the manager's pecking order last season, and now faces farther competition from Mousa Dembele, who is playing on the flanks, and duo summer signings Son Heung-min and Clinton N'Jie. However, the Englishman says he is now motivated by the competition and hopeful to show Pochettino what he can do to break into his line-up.
"When I first broke into the team, we'd just signed Lamela and Chadli and there were other players, so every season I have different challenges," said Townsend. "This season there is different personnel but the same number of players, so I know if I can keep putting in good performances then I can break into that side. You're never going to have just one player to fight for your place. When I spoke to the manager before the end of the season, I told him I hadn't been happy with my fitness. The main aim was to get myself fit over the summer and make an impression in pre-season. It didn't pan out that way and I was set back a few times, but now I'm fit I hope I can show what I can do."