Townsend scored from range on his England debut to help Hodgson's side record a 4-1 win over Montenegro, keeping them top of a close World Cup qualifying Group H with one round of fixtures left to play.
He told ITV Sport: "Well, we agonised over it I must say. We had plenty of discussions and argued things back and forth because on this occasion we did have so many players we could choose from.
"To leave people like Jack and James Milner out of an important game like this with their talent and experience was not an easy decision.
"But, of course, we're glad it worked out well for us. I thought Andros, who got the man-of-the-match award, must be delighted with his evening's work. Sometimes you are lucky in those things, you envisage something and it comes off, but it doesn't always work out that way."
England can now secure their place in next summer's finals with a victory over Poland on Tuesday at Wembley.