Former Arsenal man Paul Merson is in the midst of a spat with England international Andros Townsend, and the player-turned-pundit has hit out at both Townsend and Tottenham with his latest comments.
Merson was shocked when Townsend was included in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the recent international break, and was vocal regarding his opinion on the sub-standard winger.
The 23-year-old came on as a substitute during England’s friendly with Italy in Turin, and scored an excellent goal that ended up securing the Three Lions a draw.
He immediately took to Twitter to hit back at Merson for his comments before the game.
Not bad for a player that should be 'nowhere near the squad' ay @PaulMerse ?
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The retired midfielder – who won the Premier League twice during his time at Arsenal – claims he has no problem admitting when he’s wrong, but believes Townsend should win a few medals before piping up.
“I think he should concentrate on playing football, to be honest, and don’t worry about me,” Merson is quoted as having told the Daily Star.
“He could have got my number and rung me. That is the thing with Twitter, they get on it and say what they want.
“But I have no problems with him coming back, although I’d also say win some medals first before you call it on.
“It was a friendly against Italy and he came on in the second half.
“Let’s not beat about the bush, who have his other two goals been against – Montenegro and San Marino?”
Townsend earned rave reviews when he first burst onto the scene with England, but it appeared to be nothing more than a purple patch. He is certainly not a top class talent at the moment, and doesn’t look like improving any time soon.
Top players rarely stoop to responding to criticism, and prefer to keep their heads down and focus on their football. Townsend obviously gets the chance to prove his critics wrong so rarely, so he jumped at the chance when it arose.
Now, he might well beat a hasty retreat.