Be Honest - Is Townsend Good Enough For England?

Last updated : 08 May 2016 By Footy Mad - Editor

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Townsend scored a stunning free-kick to lead Newcastle to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend, a result that was enough to see them climb out of the bottom three with two games remaining.

The 24-year-old, a £12m January signing from Tottenham, has not played for England since last October but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's knee injury opens up a place in Roy Hodgson's squad.

Asked if Townsend should be in the squad for the tournament in France, Benitez said: "For me, yes, I think he's doing so well that he can be in the squad without any problem.

"He has quality, but it is not just that quality from free-kicks and the way that he plays, it is that he works so hard also helping the team in defence.

"When you are a manager, you are looking for players you can trust. He can make the difference in attack, but he also helps in defence.

"Physically he is fine now and has a lot of confidence in himself."

Benitez takes his team to relegated Aston Villa on Saturday looking for three more points, and he feels it will take more than a couple of individual performances for them to stay up.

Norwich and Sunderland are waiting for any Newcastle slip ups, and even a win at Villa Park might not be enough to stop them dropping into the bottom three ahead of next weekend's final set of games as their relegation rivals both have games in hand to play on Wednesday.

"I would like to see a hero in every game because that means we have done something good," he added.

"But the team has to be the key for us. They have to work very hard and then you might see the individual qualities making a difference.

"I think we have three or four players who can make a difference, but they need the team to support them. That is what we are seeing in every game now.

"Andros was very good last weekend, impressive not just with the goal, but he needed the other players around him to be working so hard to make sure we had a clean sheet and a good result."