Arsenal v Tottenham: Emmanuel Adebayor is a 'warrior' and will start FA Cup tie says Tim Sherwood
The former Gunner will line up against his old side in the third round tie
Friday 03 January 2014
Tottenham's patched-up “warrior” Emmanuel Adebayor is fighting fit and raring to terrorise Arsenal, according to Tim Sherwood.
There had been doubts about whether Adebayor would be able to play against his old team after he was carried off on a stretcher in the second half of Tottenham's 2-1 win at Manchester United.
The striker has been passed fit though and he looks set to start Saturday's FA Cup third round tie at the home of Tottenham's most bitter rivals.
"It didn't look great when he came off on that stretcher but he is a warrior," Sherwood said.
"He had cramp in every part of his body. We weren't sure what (part of his body) to rub and put ice on next.
"He was really struggling but there is no holding him back at the moment."
Sherwood put faith in Adebayor when he took the helm and the Togolese has not let his new manager down.
Despite playing only 45 minutes under Andre Villas-Boas, Adebayor has looked sharp since his return, scoring four of the 10 goals Tottenham have scored under their new head coach.
There will be extra motivation for the player to perform well at the Emirates too as he has had a series of run-ins with the Arsenal fans since he left in 2009.
Sherwood believes the Gunners will be dreading the prospect of facing their former star.
"It's huge for us that he is back," Sherwood said. "When Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal players and their fans saw him come off at Old Trafford, I'm sure they were pleased.
"But unfortunately he's going to be walking out against them tomorrow."
Adebayor antagonised the Arsenal fans by running the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of them while playing for Manchester City just after his move to the Etihad.
He then angered Gunners fans last season when he was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Santi Cazorla just 18 minutes into the hosts' 5-2 win.
Villas-Boas became annoyed at Adebayor's lack of discipline and he was ostracised from the first team.
Sherwood has not had any problems with the striker, though, adding: "I am not going to worry about how he was treated. I am worried about how I treat him now.
"I am certain I will show him the respect he deserves as long as he continues to show that respect to me.
"All I am seeing is that he is a player who is at the top of his game and is ready to give his all for the football club."
Adebayor is not the only one to have history with Arsenal. Sherwood played in five north London derbies for Tottenham, winning on just one occasion.
That came in 1999 when the former England midfielder scored the winning goal - a curling free-kick that gave Spurs a 2-1 over their nine-man opposition.
Although Sherwood is now synonymous with Tottenham, the Spurs boss did once profess to having supported Arsenal as a child.
His father will be in the home end on Saturday as he has a season ticket - but Sherwood played down the idea that he is an Arsenal supporter.
He said: "People have asked me (about that) millions of times... I am from north London but the truth is I always support the team I represent.
"I always have done. I wear my heart on my sleeve for the team I am representing and that is Tottenham at the moment."
Sherwood would regard victory over Arsenal as a bigger achievement than the New Year's Day win at Old Trafford.
His chances of success have been improved by the news that Andros Townsend, Lewis Holtby and Jermain Defoe have all returned to training following their respective injuries.
Sherwood is still without the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho and Younes Kaboul though while Erik Lamela has emerged as a doubt because of a thigh strain.
Sherwood had planned to give his first-team players a rest this weekend, but once the draw was made he changed his mind straight away.
"We would love to have been able to play a lower league team and blood some younger players, but once that name comes out of the hat - Arsenal at the Emirates - it's impossible to do that," he said.
"It's the biggest game possible for this club and it would be fantastic if we could win and perhaps take Tottenham to the final."
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