Tottenham Focus - English young guns Townsend and Redmond to do battle at The Lane
Tottenham entertain Norwich on Saturday at White Hart Lane. This is a fixture Spurs coach André Villas-Boas has been waiting for over the international break - a match seen as the opportunity for his team to bounce back on to the winning path after defeat in the North London derby.
When Norwich visited The Lane just over a year ago a late Robert Snodgrass goal saw them come away with a point. Both teams are much changed since that day, with the Portuguese and his counterpart Chris Hughton bringing in numerous players this season. Arguably both teams are still looking to settle the new arrivals into cohesive units with more fluency to their game. However, for both teams in amongst all the incoming players from abroad it is two Englishmen who have caught the eye in the early stages of the season.
Following his arrival from Birmingham, 19-year-old Nathan Redmond has been delighting the Carrow Road faithful. Whilst Redmond has been perhaps surprisingly strong defensively, winning nine tackles and making three interceptions and five clearances, it has been his attacking play which has held the attention.
An 87% pass success rate and three key passes are good but it is ability to run at players and get them to commit which has impressed with 13 successful dribbles in just three matches. Tottenham’s Kyle Walker may well be low on confidence following criticism of his appearance for the Three Lions in Ukraine and his difficulty against tricky left winger in Yevheniy Konoplyanka. It’s Walker’s bad luck to come up against another in Redmond so soon after.
Meanwhile, after returning from a successful loan spell at Queens Park Rangers last season, Andros Townsend will hope to continue his run in the Spurs first team. Whilst Townsend is not as strong defensively as Redmond and his passing accuracy is around 82%, he has certainly made an impression. Like Redmond his direct running has resulted in a high number of successful dribbles - for Townsend nearly six a match.
The left-footed Englishman is positioned on the right wing and appears to under instruction to cut inside - like Nacer Chadli on the opposite wing. However he has developed and his right seems to be getting stronger, to the extent that he can beat players on both sides.
Whilst at times Spurs have looked ponderous, again probably due to the lack of team cohesion, Townsend has provided the attacking spark for the team and the fans. He has a strong long shot on him and cutting in from the right gives opportunity to fire at goal but his game is also maturing as can be seen by the two assists - with either foot - against Dinamo Tblisi.
Villas-Boas may refrain from including too many new players against Norwich in an attempt to recover the team’s fluidity, especially with Erik Lamela and Paulinho just returning from long distance international matches and Étienne Capoue’s injury. Townsend should continue his exciting run for Spurs, lining up directly against Redmond. It could be an interesting battle.
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