Car shown is for photoshoot purposes only and is not owned or endorsed by Mr Townsend.
“A lot of the boys at Spurs have their own personal plates. There’s a few decent ones… And now I’ve got one as well,” grins Andros Townsend as we deliver his new AND 20S number plates. He is obviously pleased at how well the characters represent his name. “I’ve been trying to get one for a few years but had no joy in getting the perfect plate. Luckily, you guys at Regtransfers called up my agent and said you had one available for me and I was delighted. Hopefully, I can have this plate for years to come.”
Andros is an affable, quietly spoken young man. Despite being pleased with his new personal registration, it is clear that he would rather talk about other things. If one wants to talk to Andros Townsend, football is a great place to start. This is a man whose every waking moment seems to be focused on his sport.
“From a young kid I always liked watching football. My dad was a massive football fan, and so from a young age it’s always been drummed into me – football, football, football. Then when I got to the age of six or seven I started playing and realised I was half decent, and realised it was a career choice I wanted to go down.
“I think everything is sport-orientated for me. Anything with competition in it, whether it be darts, crazy golf, tennis, Playstation, anything with competition, anything I can win, that’s what I like to do in my spare time.”
Andros’s mention of darts doesn’t go unnoticed. It seems a surprising interest for a fleet-footed winger.
“We’re always playing so it’s difficult to get down, but when I get the odd day off, or the weekend off, I’m always down the darts. It’s a good occasion, especially the world championships. It’s a good night out. I watch the darts at home so it’s definitely another sport that I like watching.”
But it’s football, and specifically football for Tottenham Hotspur and for England, that really gets Andros’s blood pumping.
“I’ve been at Spurs since I was eight, so from the age of eight the only thing in my mind was that I wanted to be a footballer. I didn’t really have any other goals. I wasn’t really good at school so I think it was always football or nothing for me. I’ve been there for a good part of 15 years now. Being a Spurs boy, to make your debut at White Hart Lane and score and get man of the match, I didn’t think it could get better than that; but then, a few years later, I made my debut for England
at Wembley and scored and got man of the match, so those have definitely got to be two of the proudest moments of my life so far.”
It is well known that Southampton would like to acquire Andros but he has always made it clear that Spurs is very much his focus.
“I’m not one that likes to think too far ahead. For now, my main focus is nailing down a place in the Spurs team and, of course, for my country – keep getting the caps when I can, keep playing well, keep scoring goals. I think it’s important to not get too far ahead because then you won’t be focusing on the here and now.
“I go in to train every morning looking to improve every day. Every time I step on the field I’m looking to improve and try and become the best player that I can possibly be. I’ve had nine different loan spells. I think it’s important nowadays for young players to go out in the lower leagues and get experience of the different type of football because, of course, at Spurs you play nice football, you play on the floor, but I think that sometimes you have to learn the other side of the game: playing for Yeovil on a Tuesday night when it’s windy and there’s long balls coming in the box, and you’ve got to deal with it, so I think the loan system was incredibly important for my development.”
Those loan periods have been a talking point amongst pundits and interpretations have varied, but Andros values the lessons he has learned along the way to his place on the Spurs team – not least that persistence and perseverance pay off. That would be a key part of his advice to young players who are just starting out.
“Just never give up. I think in my career I’ve had so many setbacks… I’ve had clubs tell me I’m not good enough, tell me that they’ve got other players that are better than me. The main thing is just to believe in your own ability and never give up. Eventually your talent will shine through.”
Interview: Angela Banh
Story: Rick Cadger
Photography: Stan Thompson
We should like to thank Andy Kyriacou for his assistance in the preparation of this article.