The Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor will be brought back into the fold by interim manager Tim Sherwood having been all but frozen out under Andre Villas-Boas, who was sacked yesterday.
Adebayor is in the squad for tomorrow's Capital One Cup quarter-final at home to West Ham, although no decision has yet been made on whether he will be sufficiently match-fit to play a part – either in the starting XI or from the bench. Having taken training for two days, the new Spurs management team will assess their options tomorrow.
It was felt that Adebayor was badly off the pace when he was thrown into last month’s game against Manchester City at half-time, the only first team action he has seen all season. However, Sherwood rates the player, now in his third season at Spurs, and feels that he has a major part to play in the push for Champions League football this season.
It was a clash over Adebayor that sealed the fate of Villas-Boas when, in conversation with chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini, after the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, he refused to consider changing his position on the player.
When it was gently suggested to the Portuguese coach that another striker could change Spurs’ miserable goalscoring form, Villas-Boas response was so militantly against the notion that Levy felt he had no option but to sack him.
Adebayor could yet find himself the team’s first-choice striker again under the new interim manager. Roberto Soldado, who has scored just nine in 17 games, including four in the league, was Villas-Boas’ pick among the summer signings and his position as a first-choice striker is surely under threat now that the manager has changed.
There was unhappiness among the support at a picture posted on Twitter of Adebayor and Benoit Assou-Ekotto that appeared to be mocking the scale of the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool. However, there is no issue between the player and Sherwood and minds are focussed on Spurs making progress in the League Cup and in the Premier League against Southampton on Sunday.
Sherwood is without Michael Dawson and Paulinho who are both serving suspensions for the visit of Sam Allardyce’s side. Sandro and Jan Vertonghen are injured. However, Sherwood could yet have Danny Rose, Christian Eriksen, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul back in contention. Kaboul will be a strong contender to start the game.
Speaking to the club’s in-house media, Sherwood said: “When you lose your manager it's a change and you've got to listen to a different voice, but I'm hoping to get a few messages across in a short space of time so we can get a positive result against West Ham.
“It's a huge game, especially on the back of what they did to us at the Lane [a 3-0 defeat in October]. It was disappointing. We have to get out there on the front foot and we have to impose ourselves on them as soon as we can during the game.”
He added: “In defensive areas we're quite light, but it's up to those boys to step up to the mark and perform well for the club and for themselves. We'll just crack on with what else we've got. It ain’t a bad team.“
Of West Ham he said, “Hopefully they've got their concentration on Premier League safety rather than the cup. We have to be patient. They got bodies behind the ball and tried to catch us on the counter-attack. We're aware of that. Let's just hope we can impose ourselves on them nice and early, get the crowd behind us and really be up and at them.”