The last time England played Germany they went crashing out of the 2010 World Cup, though the ignominy of a 4-1 defeat in Bloemfontein might have been ameliorated had Frank Lampard's clearly legitimate goal been allowed to stand. Andros Townsend can remember watching the game on holiday with family in Cyprus – "I don't think I am the only Englishman who was shouting at the television when the goal was not given" – though he finds it harder to recall which club he was playing for at the time.
"I can't remember where I was on loan that season, I'll have to check," he says. Townsend was actually back with Tottenham between loan spells at Milton Keynes Dons and Ipswich Town, but a player loaned out nine times to nine different clubs before his 22nd birthday can be forgiven the occasional memory lapse. It goes without saying that three years ago playing a part in the next World Cup was not uppermost in Townsend's mind. Just getting a game for Spurs was proving a challenge.
"I watched the last World Cup like a fan," he admits. "Every footballer dreams that one day it might happen, but I was nowhere near the England squad at that stage and I had no idea that things would develop this quickly. Now I have got my foot through the door with my first two caps I can kind of taste it, and I am not going to let this opportunity slip. I don't want to be thinking, in 10 or 15 years' time, what might have been if only I had played well in those last two friendlies. I have an opportunity now and I want to make the most of it. Whenever I am given the chance, I have to take it like I did last month."
Townsend's goalscoring performance against Montenegro and equally impressive display against Poland were only partly overshadowed by the infamous space monkey furore, an episode that Townsend is as keen as Roy Hodgson to consign to history.
"Playing for England was a lot easier for me because I was playing with world-class players," he says. "The manager just told me to go out and do what I had been doing with Tottenham and QPR, to take people on, get some crosses into the box and have some shots. That is basically what every manager has ever said to me, but it becomes so much easier when you have Wayne Rooney alongside you and Daniel Sturridge, who is on fire at the moment. It felt like I had been there for years."
himself with a winning goal against Arsenal a few days before his 17th birthday, after joining Everton aged nine. Townsend joined the Tottenham academy at the age of eight, but made his league debut in slightly less glamorous surroundings, on loan to Yeovil Town with fellow Spurs loanee Jonathan Obika. Of all the subsequent loans, which include playing for three different managers at Leeds in the space of a couple of months, an unhappy spell at Watford where he barely got a game and a subsequent revival of fortunes under Kenny Jackett at Millwall, he looks back on the first most fondly.
"Going out on loan at 17 was rare, I think we were among the first to do it and then to play every game and make it successful," he says. "I don't think I'd be here today if it wasn't for that loan, so I'm grateful to [then Yeovil manager] Terry Skiverton and the staff at Yeovil for giving me the chance.
"Jonathan and I were young and naive but also professional, wanting to do everything right. We smuggled an electric stove into our hotel room and took turns to cook pasta for each other and then clean up. It was a humble beginning really, but I have always been a bit obsessive about making the best of myself. I used to get into trouble with the Spurs youth team for doing extra training on my own. Me and a few others used to hide footballs behind cupboards so we could sneak out in the afternoons and do a bit more, work on our weaker foot, all sorts of things. That's how keen we were, how determined we were to improve, but the physios didn't like it because they were into knowing the body and doing exactly the right amount of training. They didn't want me pushing myself too far at such a young age and picking up injuries as a result."
If Townsend's nomadic career has left him feeling like a nowhere man at times, his two games for England turned him into a marked man overnight. "As soon as I came back from international duty we played Aston Villa and I noticed straight away I had no space at all," he says. "They were doubling up on me as soon as I got the ball. Ever since then it has been more difficult, but if I want to be a top player that is something I need to deal with. André Villas-Boas told me to come inside and let the markers follow if they want to. Then we've got a player of Kyle Walker's pace on the outside and he'll get through."
Townsend is quick to acknowledge the confidence he gained from his club manager telling him he was part of his plans. "He said from day one he wanted me to be more involved this season," he says. "He knew what I had done at QPR, thought I had a future at Spurs, and told me he did not want to sell me. That took away some of the pressure to perform and let me play my normal game."
Townsend is in a similar position with England, he knows he has Hodgson's confidence even though Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and now Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana are also competing for the same spot. He feels his performances for Spurs in the next few month will be key to his chances of making the World Cup squad.
"First and foremost I need to play well and stay in the Spurs first team," he says. "I've got six or seven months to secure my seat on the plane. It's nice to be recognised all of a sudden, you work hard as a youngster to be in the limelight and I like it when people come along and ask for autographs and pictures, but you need to stick to normality as much as possible and not get carried away. I want to keep my focus and keep proving myself on the pitch. The minute you start believing your own hype and thinking you are better than you actually are, that's when you start fading away."