International news: Roy Hodgson reveals he has been tracking Andros Townsend for some time
Roy Hodgson has admitted it was at QPR that Andros Townsend came to his attention as a possible England star.
Last Updated: 13/10/13 2:16pm
Twelve months after suffering the desolation of relegation into the Championship with QPR, Townsend could well be preparing for an appearance at the World Cup finals following his dramatic debut in Friday's 4-1 win over Montenegro.
For the 22-year-old is now bound to keep his place for Tuesday's final qualifier against Poland at Wembley, when a victory will confirm Hodgson's team as one of the automatic qualifiers for Brazil 2014.
It would be a success for the loan system if Townsend does make it.
The Leytonstone-born player spent an incredible nine spells away from parent club Tottenham, including less-than-glamorous stints at Yeovil, Leyton Orient and Millwall.
But it was those 12 games for QPR which really gave Hodgson a heavy hint he was ready for much bigger things.
"I know quite a lot about the young players at Tottenham because they have a lot of them," said Hodgson.
"Tom Carroll is one, Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton and also Andros Townsend. These were players I had been following all through last year.
"But when Andros got the loan move to QPR and did so well there it really alerted us.
"I have seen him play a lot of times for Tottenham this season, as have my staff, and he has more than replicated those QPR performances.
"He has made us sit up and think about him even more."
Townsend has been through his fair share of trials and tribulations.
He was fined £18,000 and banned for four months, three of them suspended, for breaching Football Association betting regulations in the summer, costing him a place at the European Under-21 Championships.
This season he has admitted to diving against Chelsea, something he publicly apologised for.
Townsend's maturity in admitting to the failings of youth bode well for the future but not as much as the dynamism of his performance against Montenegro on Friday, when he deservedly collected man-of-the-match honours with a display capped by a brilliant solo goal which effectively sealed an England victory.
"I am just delighted for Andros," said Hodgson. "It can't have been easy for him can it?
"Making your debut in front of eighty-odd thousand people in a game we had to win.
"But he played like a veteran and scored a wonder goal."
Townsend's performance was also vindication of Hodgson's bold selection gamble, at odds with his conservative public profile, but which paid off handsomely.
"We decided to play Andros a couple of days ago," said Hodgson. "Like all decisions, you think them through again but I suppose we made up our minds at the beginning of the week."