Forbes hails Townsend's 'professionalism' during ex-England star's time with the Luton U21s

Winger has come in for extra training as he bids to regain full fitness
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Luton U21s lead coach Adrian Forbes has hailed the attitude shown by new Town signing Andros Townsend during his time with the Hatters’ Development squad recently.

The 32-year-old moved to Kenilworth Road on a short term deal earlier this month, eager to continue his playing days after a serious cruciate ligament injury suffered in March 2022 threatened to end them far earlier than he had ever anticipated.

Having featured 264 times in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Everton, sold for fees totalling over £25m and also earning 13 England caps, with three goals too, there is little doubt the winger has had a terrific career at the very highest level.

Andros Townsend in action for Burnley during pre-season - pic: Gualter Fatia/Getty ImagesAndros Townsend in action for Burnley during pre-season - pic: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images
Andros Townsend in action for Burnley during pre-season - pic: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Despite that though, Townsend has thrown himself into his time with the U21s in a bid to prove his fitness, playing for an hour in front of a crowd of less than 100 on Tuesday against Northampton Town U21s, also scoring from a free kick in the 3-2 loss, to follow up the 90 minutes he managed when travelling to York to feature in Luton’s Premier League Cup defeat to Leeds United U21s.

Forbes also revealed that rather than take the weekend off ahead of the contest, with the rest of the first team allowed some down time, the winger came in to do all he can to top up his sharpness with the aim of featuring in this afternoon’s Premier League trip to Nottingham Forest.

Asked just how Townsend has been since working with him, he told the club’s official website: “Excellent. The best way for me to describe Andros and how he’s been since he came in is, if you look at the first team boys being off over the weekend, Andros came in to train with this group on Saturday.

"Andros was the one that wanted to play today (Tuesday) as he knows he wants to have minutes in his legs to get up to speed so that he can then go and showcase his talent for the first team.

"It’s not just about what he’s doing by coming into train to play in this game, it’s how he’s conducted himself with the lads and in the dressing room, how he’s encouraged the lads, how he’s shown his professionalism in every way.

"Even on Saturday, we did some three v three games, we had two teams playing and one team off.

"When he was off, Andros was encouraging the lads to go and press, to get on the ball, he was having a laugh and a giggle with the boys when there was a trick of skill or someone got beat.

“So he was right in with this group of young players and it’s hard as well to quantity and get in your mind what he’s done, but when he’s with these young players, you don’t notice that person, you just see a humble man that’s come in and he’s helping these young players.

"You can see by how he’s performed today, he didn’t cut any corners, he did everything right and put in a really good performance.

"The key thing for my group of players is to look at how he conducts himself, look at how he sets himself up to go and play, look at how he plans and prepares his body to go and perform.

"Hopefully they can go and look at that and build for themselves as well.”

With Town’s U21s all at a very different stage of their career, as they are just starting out, on just what they can take from a player like Townsend, Forbes continued: “These boys have got to strive to have a percentage of the career that he’s had.

"If they can see that he’s coming in to do extras and that when he is in, he’s not cutting corners and he is being the best that he can be and he is pushing himself and challenging himself, it’s got to rub off on these younger players.

"If it rubs off on these young players and they get 50 percent closer to doing that, or they give themselves 50 percent more, then they’re giving themselves a better opportunity to have the career that they deserve.

“As they are some fantastic players, but linked with that, they’ve got to take that role model and put it into practise on the pitch.”

Townsend himself is more than happy to play a role in the next generation at Kenilworth Road progressing as well as the senior members, adding: “You’ll have to ask the younger guys, but hopefully the players can see how I work Monday to Friday, see the preparation it takes, the longevity in the Premier League and use it to their advantage as well.

"On Saturday if I can have some words of wisdom and maybe if we’re winning 1-0 or losing 1-0, I can come in maybe be that calm for 15, 20 minutes, or if we’re chasing a game, I can be that guy who can whip a ball into the box.

"Any way the manager wants to utilise me, I’m more than happy to take up that role.”