Newcastle United news: Townsend focused on club not country, Benitez orders players to forget about Sunderland

Newcastle United players celebrate Andros Townsend's free-kick
Newcastle United players celebrate Andros Townsend's free-kick

Newcastle United hero Andros Townsend insists his focus is on club not country as the relegation dogfight reaches a climax.

There are mounting calls for his inclusion in England’s Euro 2016 squad given his impressive recent form.

Rafa Benitez and Alan Pardew

Rafa Benitez and Alan Pardew

The England international has created several goals as well as scoring four times - including the stunning free kick which gave Rafa Benitez’s side all three points against Crystal Palace.

Asked if he has thought about an England recall, Townsend said: “Not at all.

“You can see how much we have to focus on Newcastle at the minute so no, I’m not letting my mind think about England.

“The manager [Roy Hodgson] knows my game inside out and he knows what I can do; if he feels that I can offer something, if he wants a player like myself in the squad, he’ll pick me like he’s shown before.

“But no, I’m not thinking about it.

“My main focus is helping Newcastle stay in the Premier League.

“If anything happens on the back of that, then great - if not, then I’ll go away and prepare for next season,” he told the club website.

Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, has told his Newcastle United players to forget about Sunderland - and focus on beating Aston Villa.

Benitez’s side climbed out of the Premier League’s relegation zone on Saturday.

"You can’t do anything about that," said Benitez.

"I was asking about the score, and they told me, but we just have to concentrate on our own game and our own points and look at what we can do and improve.

"You can’t worry too much about the others because you can’t make the difference.

"I was just happy that we won and the way that we won. It’s the same with Norwich. We can’t have any influence on them."

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And finally, Karl Darlow has shrugged off the plaudits for his goalkeeping heroics - and insisted he’s only interested in points.

Asked if he felt like a hero, Darlow said: "No I don’t!

"Not at all. There’s a long way to go.

"Three points was the main objective, and Andros’s goal was unbelievable. That keeps us going for the rest of the season.

"That is a big three points for us. It keeps our run going a bit longer."

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