England: Andros Townsend hopes to have quietened his critics

Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend has scored seven goals for Tottenham this season

Andros Townsend hopes he has quietened the doubters "for a few months" after his 25-yard equaliser earned England a 1-1 friendly draw in Italy.

The 23-year-old, who started just two Premier League games for Tottenham before January, came off the bench to cancel out Graziano Pelle's opener.

"I have just been desperate to get on the pitch and silence a few critics," he said.

"Hopefully they can realise the quality I bring to the team."

Townsend scored on his international debut against Montenegro to help England qualify for the World Cup, but missed the finals in Brazil with an ankle injury.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson had questioned Townsend's place in the team earlier in the week in comments made to Sky Sports.

Townsend tweeted:external-link "Not bad for a player that should be 'nowhere near the squad' ay @PaulMerse?"

Andros Townsend Twitter
Tottenham winger Townsend scored as England drew 1-1 in an international friendly with Italy

He added: "I have been thinking about it all week. As soon as the goal went in, I was thinking of all the people questioning my call-ups and saying I should be nowhere near the England squad."

England boss Roy Hodgson was also full of praise for the 70th-minute substitute, who replaced Fabian Delph, describing him as a "game-changer".

"I stuck by him because of the qualities he brings," Hodgson said. "Andros has got that ability to get turned around very quickly and run at enormous pace with skill at defenders and that's something defenders don't like.

"We've always appreciated that quality he has. In a squad of 20-odd players, there should be a place for guys like him because he's a game changer."

Jones the destroyer

Phil Jones
Phil Jones has made 15 England appearances

Hodgson defended playing "destroyer" Phil Jones in midfield as a "useful experiment" despite England toiling, with the Manchester United defender at the base of a diamond.

But, with Jones replacing the ill Chris Smalling at the back and Michael Carrick being introduced as a substitute in midfield, the visitors improved after the break with Townsend's long-range strike earning them a draw.

"We experimented with Phil because, in a destroyer-type role, that could be useful in the future," Hodgson said. "I didn't think Phil played badly in that position.

"His position will come under scrutiny. He was much better when Michael Carrick came on.

"I don't want to criticise any players. I don't think we should write it off as an experiment which didn't work. There might be a time when we need him in there."

'Nowhere near our high standards'

Hodgson believes England will learn from a poor first-half performance at the Juventus Stadium in Turin after seeing Italy go in ahead at the break.

He was encouraged, though, by a spirited second-half display that saw forward Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane, who was making his full England debut, nearly score a winner.

England 'upset' with first-half display

Hodgson said: "The second half was very good, the first half was nowhere near the performances we look for, nowhere near the standards that we have set.

"The game was almost dead and very tame in the first half, Italy didn't have too much reason to be excited by their first half either. We didn't see anything like what we want to see from the team.

"At the end, the domination we had and the chances we created, we could even consider ourselves unlucky not to win, but the important thing for me was that we produced yet again, the type of performance I want to see, albeit, only for one half and we will learn from that. You don't forget anything that happens at international level as a player or coach and we will hopefully learn from that."

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