Sixteen years on and it's time to say goodbye to Andros Townsend. It didn't quite work out for him at Tottenham, the only club he's ever been at. Academy breed, there's no doubt he possess that turn of pace, that surge of energy. The problem is he's long been an impact player that hasn't quite made enough of an impact. Time to leave home Andros. Time to grow up son.
There's a distinct lack of positional discipline when he's been selected. Wild shots and marauding movement. Townsend has that Spurs circa 2010 about him. Under Mauricio Pochettino, he doesn't quite fit into the required mould which means he'll be free to express in the black and white of Newcastle United when he completes his £12M move and leave the tactical instructions behind.
After his public disagreement with a Spurs coach the player found himself pushed further away from the first team. Not that he was that close to it before hand. Perhaps frustration and the desire to prove himself produced a volatile mix that has since seen him make appearances for the U21's (apparently turning up on his own accord to perform for them). He obviously just wants to play football.
For Spurs this is just another shift towards Poch and the streamlining of the squad. Every player we have has to be able to slot into the team with minimal fuss. If you compare to someone like Erik Lamela who has altered his work ethic to play a pressing game, you can't quite imagine Townsend having the same temperament to follow suit. He's better left to run than be shackled (even if the shackled part works in our teams favour). Not that Spurs don't allow expression. We're just far more contained as a unit these-days.
With Jan Vertonghen injured and possibly out for as long as eight weeks and the more than capable Kevin Wimmer about to step up, it seems like the test of mettle has started and how we shape up in the coming weeks might be defining for our season (what with the FA Cup and Europa League games sandwiched in amongst the pivotal League ones).
I'm gutted about Jan but Spurs have adaptability. Erik Dier can deputise at the back. Nabil Bentaleb is working towards being in contention again. It does still stretch us a little. But this is the type of pressure that builds character. Winning mentalities are forged from adversity. I'd still much prefer a full strength side to select from but them's the breaks at the top.
That striker conundrum? The extra player in a key area would not just improve us and how we can influence games (especially during the periods where we dominate momentum and don't score) but it will also give us a psychological bump.
Look at the history books. We don't always do well in the January window and hindsight has often taught us that consolidation is vital to remove the potential for bare bone dramatics. Giving us that injection will boost morale and make the congested fixture list a far less daunting prospect when every league game soon turns into a cup final.
Or we can just wait for Dele Alli to score more wonder goals.