Vertonghen backs teammate to emulate Real Madrid star.
Jan Vertonghen believes Andros Townsend can become the “new Gareth Bale” after the winger bagged his first Premier League for Tottenham in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa.
Townsend, 22, followed up his stunning performances for England last week with a fortuitous strike to put Spurs ahead at Villa Park and terrorised opposition full-back Antonio Luna with his direct running in the second half.
Spurs fans sung ‘Andros Townsend, he was born to play to Spurs’ – a song previously reserved for Bale – during the match and Vertonghen can see similarities between the duo.
“I think Andros can be our new Gareth Bale,” said Vertonghen. “He has so much pace and technique and skills, and he can do it with both feet. I hope he can keep going like this and he can even be our best player.
“Can he reach the same level as Bale? Maybe one day, if he keeps working – and he will. He’s young. In two or three years I think he can go to that level, yes.
“I remember playing against him in training last year. Sometimes I played left-back so I played against him when he was on the right wing in training, and I never liked playing against him.
“I was asking myself ‘why is he not playing, with his talent?’. Of course he had Aaron Lennon ahead of him.
“I’m so glad for him that he’s doing his thing now, because he works very hard. He’s always doing his extra practise, like shooting exercises after training. He’s 100 per cent professional and I like him as a person as well so I’m very happy he’s doing this well.”
Townsend’s strike and a fine finish from Roberto Soldado helped Spurs bounce back from the dreadful 3-0 home defeat against West Ham and climb to fifth in the table and Vertoghen believes the league is even closer than last season.
“It’s even tighter than last year,” said Vertonghen. “You have to win these games and that’s why it’s a shame we lost against West Ham at home. These games are so important, to keep us up in the top three or four.
“I think the top teams won’t drop too many points against lower teams. They’ll drop points against each other like we did, so we have to win the other games.
“I think there are six favourites [for the title]. Probably before the beginning of the season everybody would have said Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and maybe us – and now we see Arsenal and Liverpool are top of the league, so you have to take them as favourites as well.
“I think we have six favourites, and Everton are doing very well. I don’t want to think about it, it will be a very tough season.”