Sunday 18 March 2018

Adebayor slams Villas-Boas in Togo row

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Emmanuel Adebayor will play for Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday before heading off to the African Cup of Nations, and has suggested Spurs are less than happy about his participation.

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas had said he was relaxed about the Togolese striker's decision to play at this year's competition but the 28-year-old hinted yesterday that that was not necessarily true.

"That is what he said to the press, but not what he said to me," Adebayor told an African website. "There is a difference between what you say to the press and what you say in private."

Villas-Boas had said on New Year's Day following Tottenham's 3-1 victory over Reading – in which Adebayor scored one of his two league goals this season – that the club would respect the player's decision either way.

"It's always his choice because I'm not going to put myself in a position where I block a player from international duty," Villas-Boas said. "We have left it to the player to decide. If he wants to go we fully respect it."

Adebayor will be available for Saturday's Premier League game at QPR before he flies out to South Africa. He will certainly miss the league games at home against Manchester United and at Norwich City on 30 January. He will also miss the FA Cup clash with either Leeds or Birmingham.

Togo are in a group with Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Algeria. If they do not qualify from the pool, Adebayor should return at the end of the month. However, in the unlikely event that they go all the way, he would not return until after the final on 10 February, missing another two league matches.

The absence of Adebayor leaves Villas-Boas with Jermain Defoe as his only fit senior striker for the rest of the month.

Clint Dempsey has played close to a centre-forward this season but may have to lead the line if Defoe is unavailable.

Villas-Boas has made Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao of Internacional his priority in the January transfer window as he attempts to improve his options up front. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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