Mauricio Pochettino has hinted Andros Townsend would not be on the brink of leaving Tottenham if the Premier League relaxed its rules around match day squads.
The Tottenham boss branded England midfielder Townsend’s Spurs situation as “obvious”, effectively accepting that the 24-year-old could leave White Hart Lane this month.
Newcastle are understood to be weighing up a second bid for Townsend after having an initial offer rejected by Tottenham’s board, with Watford and Southampton also interested.
Townsend has not featured for Tottenham since clashing with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner in November, but Pochettino has claimed the Premier League should boost match day squads from 18 to 25.
When asked if Townsend has already played his last game for Tottenham, Pochettino replied: “The rule in the Premier League is that you can only pick 18 players, and if we change the rule like in Italy where you can put all the players on the bench, maybe that would be better and help the manager in the future.
“This is a good point to start to discuss, with the FA Cup and the Premier League, because I think maybe it would be a very good move.
“It’s always about rumours, but it’s true that when some players are not much involved in games, players always want to play and try to find solutions.
“And I think it’s obvious the situation of Andros.
“Always you have to leave out seven or eight players.
“Some players don’t deserve to miss out, but it’s impossible because you can only pick 18.
“Maybe it’s better you pick your starting XI but all the squad can sit on the bench. Then you can use every player that you have in the squad.”
Townsend was fined and forced to train with Tottenham’s Under-21s after being pictured pushing and arguing with fitness coach Gardiner after Spurs’ 3-1 win over Aston Villa in November.
Pochettino reiterated his hard-line rules on discipline when discussing how he makes the big selection calls as competition for places increases at Spurs this season.
“It’s harder to select or pick the players, but it’s better because it increases our level,” said Pochettino of Tottenham’s strong squad.
“Our players know the rules, I’ve explained the same thing from the first meeting before the season – you sign for Tottenham for training.
“It’s my job to pick you and give you the chance to play.
“You need to show me that you deserve to play.
“You need to be consistent and show that you want to be part of the squad and this club, and always show respect and discipline.
“If they agree, good. If someone doesn’t agree, the door is open.
“It’s the only way to try to have the discipline and to arrive at the end of the season chasing success.”
Pochettino insisted Tottenham already have the strength to chase silverware in the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup.
“I’m not worried about the future, or how the future is coming for different competitions,” said Pochettino.
“We have a strong squad, quality enough to compete in every competition.
“I am very happy. From the beginning of the season I think that we spoke about that I am very happy with the squad.
“And I think our FA Cup win against Leicester was a good opportunity to show that we have a very strong squad and enough quality to compete in different competitions.”