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Thursday 17 January 2019

Townsend spurred on to shoot down Gunners

Andros Townsend is ready to stake his claim for a place in Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side - starting with this evening's north London derby.

The 23-year-old England winger missed the World Cup having undergone ankle surgery at the end of last season and is now facing stiff competition to regain a berth in the starting XI, but he is determined to be involved against Arsenal.

Townsend has yet to start a league game under Pochettino but has featured in two Europa League matches and was the star turn as Spurs came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 in the third round of the Capital One Cup in midweek.

Having made 11 changes for that tie, Pochettino could give a number of the players who impressed a chance to line-up at the Emirates Stadium, with Tottenham having taken just one point from their last three English Premier League outings.

Townsend, who has also suffered from a dead leg in recent weeks, hopes he can be one of those who can benefit from playing well in a different competition.

"I think I'm improving in every game," he said. "Of course I'm not where I want to be at the moment but I'm getting games under my belt.

"I'm getting my fitness slowly better and with every game I'm improving so hopefully a few more games in the Europa League and the cup games and I might be ready to challenge for a Premier League spot.

"Of course I want to be involved (against Arsenal), you'd have to ask the manager whether I'm going to be involved.

"The manager's formation is new to me but I'm learning. We've had some chats about how he wants me to play and I'm trying to implement that when I go out on the field. It's going to take time but I know I can fit into this formation."

Tottenham travel to face their local rivals with neither side in particularly good league form but the Gunners do have recent history very much on their side.

Arsenal have lost just twice at home to Spurs since the inception of the Premier League but Townsend insists the Tottenham players will be ready to improve their modest record in fixtures across north London.

"I know, even though we've not been in the best form of late, all the boys are confident," he added.

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