Belfast Telegraph

Andros Townsend glad to prove critic Merson wrong

By Paul Hirst

Andros Townsend is looking forward to hearing what Paul Merson has to say for himself after he responded to jibes from the former Arsenal midfielder in the best way possible.

After Harry Kane's heroics against Lithuania, it was Townsend's turn to play the role of England super sub against Italy on Tuesday night.

The Tottenham winger scored a stunning equaliser from 20 yards nine minutes after entering the action at the Juventus Stadium.

Within minutes of the 1-1 draw finishing, Townsend took to Twitter to poke fun at Merson, who said the 23-year-old should be "nowhere near the (England) squad" after an inconsistent year with Tottenham.

Townsend hit back by posting: "Not bad for a player that should be 'nowhere near the squad' ay @PaulMerse?"

Townsend's father Troy got in on the act too, tweeting: "Oh ye of little faith #Merson Get in."

Merson was quiet on Tuesday night and Townsend cannot wait to hear how he responds.

"I am eagerly awaiting it," the Tottenham winger said with a smile that did not disappear for one second during his round of post-match interviews.

"As soon as the squad was announced two weeks ago, it has been going over in my head. He said it when the squad was announced - that I should be nowhere near the squad.

"As soon as the goal went in, I was just desperate to get that tweet out!

"It didn't really annoy me. It had kind of just given me the extra incentive to silence a few critics and hopefully I have done that as I always have done.

"I have still got things to prove to people.

"You can never stop proving things to people, but I think every time I have put on an England shirt I have done myself justice, I have done Roy Hodgson justice and the nation justice."

• England fans sang anti-IRA songs during Tuesday's friendly in Italy despite efforts from the Football Association to stamp the chants out in the wake of last year's match in Scotland.

Even though the FA liaised with fan groups after that Celtic Park fixture to try to prevent such chants happening again, they were heard during England's 1-1 draw at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Tuesday.

Any repeat during England's next match against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on June 7 would lead to yet more criticism.

An FA spokesman said following the match in Glasgow: ""We have consistently urged supporters to show respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others -particularly from a religious or political perspective.

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