After making his first appearance for Crystal Palace, Andros Townsend said that it was good to finally start building relationships with his teammates on the pitch in game situations.
The winger featured for an hour in the goalless draw with Philadelphia Union yesterday and impressed, receiving praise from Alan Pardew for his efforts during his time on the pitch.
However Townsend admits that it was just his first tentative steps towards getting to know those players surrounding him out on the wide right, and was happy that his first contribution helped his side avoid defeat in their opening game of 2016/17.
The £13 million man said of his debut: “It was good. It was nice to get out there after a few weeks of training, pull on the shirt and try and get a bit of fitness in before the season starts.
“The first day I came in the boys welcomed me and we got to work straight away, so they’ve helped me settle in as quickly as possible. Out there I’m trying to build relationships with the right-back, the number 10 and the striker, and as pre-season goes on that connection will come.
“It’s pre-season so of course you want to win but it’s mainly about fitness. We’ve got players who got 45 minutes, others who got 90 and some like myself got 60, so it’s all about fitness. They [Philadelphia Union] are second in their league and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and it was difficult today so we’re happy with a draw.”
His first game for the Eagles also exposed Townsend to the support of the Palace faithful, and he was impressed with those who had made the trip across the Atlantic and those who are based in the States, whetting his appetite for the next two games on tour.
On the support in the stands, he said: “They’ve been fantastic. I’ve known from the past how passionate Americans are about football and at the open training session yesterday a lot of fans came to support us, and again today they came in a lot of numbers and cheered us on. Hopefully that’ll be the same when we go to Cincinnati and Vancouver.”