By Tom Blackburn
Andros Townsend says the last six months at Newcastle helped him to regain his hunger for the sport, after a difficult few years at Tottenham.
He says he found himself struggling after poor performances at Spurs, and the last six months at Newcastle gave him fight.
“I was not playing well enough at Spurs” said Townsend, as quoted by the London Evening Standard. “Maybe it was just a change of scenery I needed.
“I went to Newcastle and started flourishing again. Unfortunately it was not enough for us to stay up last season but I got my appetite back and was playing at a level I know I am capable of.
“How well I finished last season has given me extra motivation to start this season the same way. It is no secret how difficult a spell I was having at Spurs the last two or so years.
“I was not really getting the best out of myself. To go to Newcastle and rediscover that form was great for me.
“I cannot wait for the season to begin.”
The 25-year-old came through the Spurs academy system to earn his first professional contract in 2008.
Much of Townsend’s seven and a half years at Spurs following that were spent away from White Hart Lane on loan, before he was sold to Newcastle in January for £13million.
Winger Townsend emerged as a key figure in Newcastle’s survival bid under Benitez and his record of four goals in 13 Premier League games for the club was enough to earn him a place in England’s provisional 26-man squad for Euro 2016.
But manager Roy Hodgson decided against taking Townsend to France, despite an impressive substitutes’ appearance against Australia at the Stadium of Light.
Arsenal legend Martin Keown backed Townsend to flourish this season, earlier on Friday.
“Crystal Palace Key Player – Andros Townsend,” the former Arsenal defender wrote in a season preview for the Mail Online. “Townsend provided some rare magic for Newcastle last season and was perhaps unlucky to miss out on the England squad for Euro 2016.
“He will be under pressure to be the main man if Yannick Bolasie goes and while he’s not as powerful, he can rely on great pace and long-range shooting.”
In other Newcastle news, they are expected to start Moussa Sissoko in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Huddersfield.