Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has criticised manager Andre Villas-Boas over his treatment of fellow forward Emmanuel Adebayor over his decision to banish the Togo international from training with the first-team squad.
Adebayor was instructed to train with the development squad upon his return last week after returning to his homeland on compassionate leave, following the death of his brother Peter.
But the 29-year-old has said he is determined to win back his first-team place even though Villas-Boas brought in £26m striker Roberto Soldado in the summer.
He claimed that he was confident because “I know at the end I will be the first”, but Defoe has defended his team-mate by claiming his absence does affect the team.
"I don't think it helps the team, to be honest," he told Sky Sports News.
"Someone like Mani, he's a great player and has played for some of the top clubs in the world and is someone that we're going to need. We will need his goals and what he brings to the team.
"He's keeping himself fit, he's a happy guy, he loves his football, and hopefully he'll be back soon with the team."
Defoe has joined Adebayor in slipping down the pecking order at White Hart Lane after Soldado’s arrival, and he has also seen his place in the England team slip out of his grasp in recent months.
Both Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert have moved ahead of him in Roy Hodgson’s selection, while the Three Lions boss also admitted that he would have started Danny Welbeck in attack had he been available for the clash with Ukraine.
With England barely holding on a 0-0 in Kiev, Defoe was left on the bench as Lambert played the full 90 minutes despite struggling to have an impact on the match. Defoe has admitted that his lack of football so far this season is extremely “frustrating”, especially in a World Cup year as the 30-year-old still harbours realistic hopes of being named in Hodgson’s squad for next summer’s tournament in Brazil.
"In a World Cup year you have got to play, it's as simple as that," he said.
"To get into any England squad, it's based on merit. So you have got to play, I understand that. I also understand that it's a long season, there are so many games to go and a lot of football to be played. I just have to try and keep myself sharp and fit.
"It has been really frustrating. When you have played in a World Cup and have been involved with the England squad for a number of years, it's just the best thing in the world - representing your country at that level. You want to play."
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