Andros Townsend out in the cold after clash with fitness coach
Winger dropped from first team squad ahead of Europa League game against Anderlecht
Andros Townsend: yet to start a Premier League match this season. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/AMA/Getty Images
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has banished Andros Townsend from the first team after the winger’s clash with a club fitness coach on Monday.
Townsend was pictured pushing and arguing with Spurs trainer Nathan Gardiner on the pitch at White Hart Lane following the team’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
The 24-year-old is yet to start a Premier League match this season and was an unused substitute against Villa, with Pochettino preferring to bring on Ryan Mason and 18-year-old Josh Onomah in the second half. Townsend has since been banned from first-team training and will not be part of the squad for tonight’s Europa League match at home to Anderlecht.
“He did not train with the group. He is not available to be selected tomorrow. He is not in the squad,” Pochettino said.
“It’s because of Monday. When you behave in the wrong way, you always need to pay. It’s always my decision when he is available again to be part of the squad. Discipline for me is very importantI can understand the player – we have a young squad and a player can make a mistake – but when you cross the limit, it is important to stop that.
“As a manager, I am very fair but the discipline is very important. The staff need to show respect to the player and the player needs to show respect to the staff.”
Townsend has apologised for the spat, but is believed to be considering his future at Tottenham, where the likes ofChristian Eriksen, Mousa Dembélé, Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli have all moved ahead of him in the pecking order.
A number of clubs reportedly showed an interest last summer and Townsend is likely to want more regular football to be in contention for England’s Euro 2016 squad next year.
“Has he apologised? Yes, he recognised it was a mistake,” Pochettino said.“I can understand because I was a player and when you don’t play, you’re unhappy, and sometimes your expectation is bigger than the manager provides you. But it was not normal behaviour. He is young, and you need to understand that it isn’t the way to impress the manager.
“He needs to learn about football, about behaviour, about discipline, about a lot of things. Football is not only about taking the ball in your feet and playing. You have a responsibility as a professional.”
Pochettino suggested that the club have fined Townsend for the incident, but insists the player can still have a future at White Hart Lane.
“All players have a future. It’s up to them to have a future here. Football can change quick,” Pochettino said. “He is in the squad because we believe in him and believe he can give us very good things, but it is up to the player when he has the chance to impress me and show I am wrong in my decision.
“Has he been fined? It’s a private matter. I think it’s obvious. Your question and my answer.”
Tottenham are boosted by the return of forward Son Heung-min for the match against Anderlecht. The forward has been sidelined for almost six weeks with a foot problem and his recovery gives Pochettino the option of resting Harry Kane, with the north London derby against Arsenal to come on Sunday.
“Son is ready and in the squad for tomorrow,” Pochettino said. “We need to decide whether he can stay or be on the bench. He is much better and we are happy with the recovery.”
Nabil Bentaleb has also returned to training after two months out with an ankle problem, but the midfielder is not yet match fit, while Clinton Njie is a doubt with a hamstring injury.
Spurs are currently third in Group J, level on points with Anderlecht and one behind leaders Monaco after three games played.