Andros Townsend says joining Newcastle United is a “football decision”

New signing Andros Townsend
New signing Andros Townsend

Andros Townsend says joining Newcastle United was a “football decision” – despite the club’s dire Premier League plight.

The winger this week arrived at St James’s Park in a £12million deal.

For me, it was a football decision. If I was worried about geography, I would have joined a club closer to London

Andros Townsend

Townsend had fallen out of favour at Tottenham Hotspur in October.

And the England international feels that Newcastle is the right club for him to get his career back up and running ahead of Euro 2016 – despite its precarious league position.

Steve McClaren’s side are 18th in the table and two points adrift of safety.

But Townsend had no qualms about leaving his native London for Tyneside.

Some footballers are reluctant to move so far north. Not Townsend.

“No, for me, it was a football decision,” he said.

“If I was worried about geography, I would have joined a club closer to London.

“For me, at this point in my career, Newcastle was the right stage for me to showcase my ability and hopefully get back to where I want to be.

“There is genuine ambition here, but I don’t think people think beyond the next three or four months.

“Premier League survival is the focus for everyone in the dressing room and then should we maintain that, we start thinking about the future and the big picture.”

Towsnend has followed midfield pair Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet to St James’s Park, leaving the club needing to sign a striker before Monday night’s transfer deadline.

And the 24-year-old is “confident” United can climb out of the relegation zone given the players McClaren has in his dressing room.

“Of course, it is not going to be easy,” said Townsend, who has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal at St James’s Park.

“It’s going to be difficult, but look around the dressing room – and look at the players added during the transfer window.

“It has got to fill you with confidence that these players are good enough to maintain Premier League survival. If it was all doom and gloom about Newcastle’s chances, I would not have joined.

“But I’m extremely confident, the manager is confident and the players are confident we are good enough to stay up.”

Newcastle and Tottenham had been involved in talks over a deal for Towsnend for weeks.

However, the Leytonstone-born player always felt move would happen.

“I was always confident,” he said. “I know how Spurs operate – I’ve been there a long time.

“I know they negotiate for a few weeks, so I just had to remain patient, train hard, as I normally do and play the Under-21 games I needed to and hopefully, it would happen sooner rather than later. It’s happened with six days to spare.”

Townsend – who exuded a quiet confidence and determination at yesterday’s media call at the club’s Benton training ground – said he “buckled down” after being left out of the first-team squad at Tottenham so he would be ready for a move.

“I knew that I needed to play football if I was going to make a permanent move in January and hit the ground running,” he said.

“If I had been all big time and started believing all the hype and thinking I was too good for the Under-21s, then it would not have benefited me come January.

“So you kind of take ego out of the equation, buckle down and play football at any level I could get and hopefully reap the benefits from that.”

Townsend now hopes to quickly recapture the form that saw him break into the England squad just over two years ago.

“I have faith in my own ability,” he said. “I’m the same player and the same person that did break on the scene a few years ago and was tipped as a big England prospect.

“I was an integral part for club and country – I’m still that same player.

“I have not played that run of games since 2013. I have had a chance to do that.

“I know it’s a different level with the Under-21s, but I’m fully fit for the first time in long while.

“I’m in best shape of my life, and injury-free, and hoping Newcastle will benefit from that.”