“Physically, he is fine now and has a lot of confidence in himself”
But under Benitez, several players have rediscovered their A game, none more so than Townsend whose England prospects have been boosted by Alex Oxade-Chamberlain’s knee injury which rules him out of this summer’s tournament in France.
And Benitex rackons Townsend is the leading contender to step in, saying: “For me, yes, he can be in the squad without any problem.
“He has quality, not just with his free-kicks and the way he plays but also he works so hard, helping the team in defence.
“When you are a manager, you are always looking for players you can trust and he can make a difference .
“Physically, he is fine now and has a lot of confidence in himself.”