Andros Townsend feared his top-flight career was over after a summer of rejection and could not conceal his delight after coming off the bench to help Luton Town salvage a point at Nottingham Forest.
‘Amazing, honestly,’ beamed the 32-year-old after making his 265th Premier League appearance and his first for 583 days.
‘It was a day I’ve dreamt about for a very long time. This is not a swansong in my mind. Before my injury, I felt I was in my prime. With a run of games I can get back to where I was and beyond.’
Everton released Townsend at the end of last season. He had not played since a cruciate knee injury in March 2022 and looked set to join Burnley until the deal collapsed.
‘It’s been a long old summer,’ said the former England winger. ‘Thinking I was back in the Premier League, then turned down at the last minute and going across the world searching for an opportunity.
Andros Townsend feared his top-flight career was over after a summer of rejection
‘I didn’t doubt my ability but nobody in the world wanted to even take a look at me.
I was in Turkey, offering my services to anybody. Turkey, UAE, Saudi, Greece. Every country you can think of. I didn’t think I’d have that much trouble finding a football club.’
Townsend was doing media work and speaking to a League One club when Luton called, invited him to train and, once impressed, offered a contract until January. Two weeks after working for Sky on Forest’s draw at Crystal Palace, he was coming on as a sub with his new club 1-0 down. They were soon two down when Chris Wood scored his second, but Chiedozie Ogbene pulled one back from a Townsend free-kick and Elijah Adebayo levelled in stoppage time.
‘I’ve got three months to get myself in the best condition possible and 12 more games to prove I deserve to be here.’