Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend has a future at the club despite being dropped for the Europa League tie against Anderlecht, according to Mauricio Pochettino. The England international will sit out the game after an altercation with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner following the 3-1 win over Aston Villa, which saw Townsend left on the bench.
The 24-year-old has not made a single Premier League start this season and was overlooked for a substitute appearance on 2 November as 18-year-old Josh Onomah made his top flight debut. Townsend trained on the White Hart Lane pitch with Gardiner after the game but came to blows with the Spurs coach and left the field in anger.
The Guardian has since reported that Townsend is expected to seek a move away from Tottenham during the January transfer window following both the incident and his marginalisation from the first team, which will continue for the visit of Anderlecht. Pochettino has refused to confirm if the player has been officially suspended and fined for the incident or whether he will be available to face Arsenal this weekend, but he is confident Townsend has a future in north London.
"This is a private matter but there is always action and consequence, but it is private," the Tottenham boss told a pre-match press conference according to Sky Sports. "He is not available to be selected tomorrow [against Anderlecht] and that is because he is not in the squad. It is because of Monday. When you behave in the wrong way, you always need to pay. It is my decision [if he returns to play Arsenal] because it is always my decision when he is available again to be part of the squad.
"Yes [he has apologised] he realises it was a mistake. I can understand. I was a player and when you don't play you are not happy and your expectation is bigger than what the managers provides you with. It is not a normal behaviour and he is still young and he needs to understand that is not the way you impress the manager but he is still young.
"Every player has a future but it is up to them to have a future here. Football can change quick and always he is in the squad because we believe in him and that he can give us good things. After that, it is up to the player to show me I am wrong."
The news regarding Townsend has overshadowed the return of two crucial players to Pochettino's squad ahead of the resumption of Tottenham's European campaign. Forward Son Heung-min and midfielder Nabil Bentaleb both trained ahead of the game following foot and ankle injuries, respectively.
Son has been out since September after picking up a foot problem in Tottenham's 4-1 win over Manchester City and as a result of his return to fitness has been included in South Korea's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Myanmar and Laos. Bentaleb, meanwhile, was out with ankle ligament damage but has resumed light work with the first-team squad.