By Tom Blackburn
Martin Keown has backed Andros Townsend to step up and replace Yannick Bolasie as the key man at Crystal Palace this season.
As part of a 2016-17 season preview of Palace, Keown believes Townsend poses a different but equally dangerous threat as Bolasie.
“Key Player – Andros Townsend,” the former Arsenal defender wrote 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.”
Palace begin their campaign with a clash against West Brom at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
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.
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.
In other Newcastle news, here is their expected 4-2-3-1 formation to face Huddersfield and it includes Moussa Sissoko.