Emmanuel Adebayor will play for Tottenham on Saturday before heading off to the African Cup of Nations, and has suggested Spurs are less than happy about his participation.
Andre Villas-Boas, the Spurs manager, had said he was relaxed about the Togolese centre-forward's decision to play at the competition but the striker hinted yesterday that this was not necessarily true.
"That is what he said to the press, but not what he said to me," Adebayor told africatopsports.com, in an interview also published on the Togo Football Federation's 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, after Tottenham's 3-1 win 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, and make sure we continue at this level. I'm not involved in any form. We have nothing to do with the situation."
Adebayor will be available for Saturday's Premier League game at Queen's Park Rangers before he flies out to South Africa. He will certainly miss the league games at home against Manchester United on 20 January and at Norwich City on 30 January. He will also miss the FA Cup fourth-round tie which will be away against either Leeds United or Birmingham on 27 January.
Adebayor may return for the league game at West Bromwich Albion on 3 February. Togo are in Group D, including Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Algeria. If they do not qualify from their group, Adebayor should return at the end of the month. In the unlikely event, though, that they go all the way he would not return until after the final on 10 February, missing another two league matches.