Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend has lifted the lid on his relationship with former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino four years after leaving the North London club.
The 28-year-old spent nine years at the Spurs academy before making his debut in September 2012.
Townsend played just 50 Premier League games for Tottenham having had loan spells at nine different clubs, finally leaving permanently for Newcastle United in January 2016.
The English winger had a row with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner in November 2015 after a match against Aston Villa where he was an unused substitute.
Townsend was pictured pushing and arguing with Gardiner on the pitch after the game, and he never played for Spurs again despite apologizing for his behaviour.
The England international was yet to start a Premier League game that season, and Pochettino’s decision to bring on Ryan Mason and Josh Onomah in the second half against Villa further irked him.
While he returned to the squad two weeks later, he only made three appearances on the Spurs bench before getting sold to Newcastle for £12 million.
The Palace star has now admitted that while he resented Pochettino at the beginning of his Tottenham tenure, he has since grown up to become grateful to him.
“It didn’t end well and people probably think we hate each other but I’ll always be grateful,” Townsend told The Athletic.
“I was too young to take his messages on board. If he likes you, you would always be in his office. His first season, I struggled with confidence, form and fitness. I went from the main man at Spurs to struggling to get in the team. I was in the office every other week, going through clips. He spent so much time trying to get me back to where I wanted to be.
“I may have been bitter and angry at the time and resented him, but after time passes you realise I was in his office with him telling me how to improve. For the most part, we had a really good relationship. I needed a change, though — to move on, go down and take a step back up.”
Newcastle got relegated in his only season at St. James’ Park and Palace triggered his £13 million release clause.
Townsend has since played 125 league games for the Eagles, scoring 12 times – including that belter against Manchester City that emerged as the Premier League Goal of the Season last term.