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Townsend not guaranteed Spurs starting spot - Villas-Boas

ESPN staff
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Andros Townsend impressed for England © Getty Images
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Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has hinted that new England hero Andros Townsend is not assured of his place in the Spurs line-up, despite his sparkling performances that helped his country qualify for the World Cup finals.

Townsend has been hailed as the emerging star of the English game after his two sparkling displays against Montenegro and Poland in England's decisive World Cup games, yet he may be brought back down to earth quicker than expected in a Spurs squad oozing with talented wide players.

With £30 million summer signing Erik Lamela, Aaron Lennon, Nacer Chadli and Gylfi Sigurdsson all competing for wide roles in the Spurs line-up ahead of Sunday's game at Aston Villa, Villas-Boas admitted his selection dilemmas are likely to be ongoing.

"It's a question of what serves the team and who's performing better," stated Villas-Boas.

"Whenever someone is doing well they deserve to keep their place. [Townsend] knows he has tough competition for his place, not just from Lamela and Lennon but Sigurdsson and Chadli. He will continue to deliver, that's what we want.

"There are only two wide positions up for grabs and they all have to compete. He knows that, but performances like this keep your place in the team for Tottenham and England.

"Whenever he has been called up by myself or Roy Hodgson, he has given great performances individually."

Villas-Boas had previously voiced his concerns that Townsend's call-up to the England squad may not enhance his development. However, his tune had changed.

"It's wonderful for him and comes along with the explosion he had in the Premier League not with Tottenham," Villas-Boas continued. "He is doing extremely well for club and country and deserves credit.

"We're very proud of what he has done, seeing him play with so much confidence and determination he's really set his place in the team, for Tottenham and for his country.

"It is part of his growing up as a player. It is good recognition from the media and the fans around the world. I expect him to be the same player as he was so far. I don't expect it to divert his attention.

"He will be more exposed to the public eye, more demand for his performances, but I'm sure he can handle it. Most of his colleagues are down to earth so he is in the right environment here."

Villas-Boas went on to express his hope that the so-called 'racism storm' surrounding the comments of Hodgson relating to Townsend in the England dressing room should now be brought to an end, as he admitted 'it was a shame' that the news leaked from a source within the England set-up.

"Roy assumed his responsibility, he has apologised, Townsend said no offence was taken, I think we should all move on," he added.

Villas-Boas meanwhile expects Christian Benteke to be in Aston Villa's line-up for Sunday's Premier League game at Villa Park, after the Belgian players in the Spurs ranks gave their boss the inside track on his recovery from a knee injury.

Spurs duo Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen trained alongside a recovering Benteke during the recent international break, with Villas-Boas tipping the powerhouse striker who was linked with a move to Tottenham last summer to return to action this weekend.

"The information I've been given from them is that [Benteke] was involved, he is [in] contention to play [on Sunday], so I would expect him to play," stated Villas-Boas.

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