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Dawson impressed by Townsend


Andros Townsend, left, produced a man-of-the-match display against Villa

Andros Townsend, left, produced a man-of-the-match display against Villa

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Andros Townsend, left, produced a man-of-the-match display against Villa

Tottenham captain Michael Dawson is impressed by how team-mate Andros Townsend has taken his whirlwind past fortnight in his stride.

Spurs winger Townsend catapulted himself to stardom this month with stunning performances in England's climactic World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

The 22-year-old had been a surprise selection by England boss Roy Hodgson after only breaking into the Spurs side this season.

Townsend ended last term on loan at relegated QPR but his rise to prominence since has been dramatic and he continued his fine form with a starring role in Spurs' 2-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

All eyes were on the new national hero at Villa Park, but he was not fazed by the attention, opening the scoring and then running Villa ragged with a devastating and inspirational attacking display.

Dawson said: "He has not changed, he is still the same player he was two weeks ago.

"He has just been in the media spotlight and he has taken it well.

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"It was a top performance. He was man of the match and scored a goal. He is playing well and is full of confidence.

"He's carried on where he left off for England."

The win, capped by a breakaway second goal finished by Roberto Soldado, lifted Spurs to fifth in the Barclays Premier League.

It was a good response after excitement over their promising start to the season was tempered by a 3-0 defeat to West Ham a fortnight ago.

Central defender Dawson said: "We're glad to leave with three points and bounce back from the defeat against West Ham a couple of weeks ago.

"It was a long two weeks. It is always in the back of your mind."

Townsend's 31st-minute strike was actually fortuitous as it was intended as a cross but neither Lewis Holtby nor Soldado could get a touch and it bounced past Brad Guzan.

Yet for the display that followed, Townsend arguably deserved to get a goal next to his name - his first for the club in the Premier League.

Townsend tested Guzan with a fine low strike just before half-time and later sent another fierce drive inches over.

He ran at the Villa defence throughout and was unfortunate nobody could turn in any of his deliveries.

Villa had their moments, not least after fit-again Christian Benteke came off the bench on the hour and immediately threatened an equaliser, but Spurs held the upper hand.

Soldado made victory secure when he finished a swift counter-attack in the 69th minute, rewarding the visitors for a performance full of verve.

But Dawson said: "People weren't saying that a few weeks ago when we got beat at home. Football can change.

"We need to keep working hard. Let's not get carried away, but it was a great performance and we'll enjoy the day."

Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor felt the result was harsh on the hosts.

Agbonlahor had the first half-chance of the game with a shot on the turn that flew over, while Ashley Westwood, Andreas Weimann and Leandro Bacuna went close before Townsend struck.

Benteke's introduction also threatened to change the game and the Belgian had two good opportunities - one a header that went narrowly over - before Soldado's goal ended any hopes of a fightback.

Agbonlahor said: "We are disappointed as a team. We were just getting on top in the game, pushing for an equaliser, when we conceded a sloppy goal. It settled the game.

"It was tight. We had to defend at times but we played well and had our chances throughout the game.

"It is one of those things. We just conceded at the wrong time.

"We are disappointed with the game but whatever had happened - it is gone. We are back in on Tuesday to start preparing for Everton."

Benteke had missed the two previous games with a hip injury but the key forward's return to fitness is a boost for Villa.

Agbonlahor said: "It was good to see him come on. Having him coming back is good for the team."

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