Tottenham Hotspur's Emmanuel Adebayor given chance to hit headlines again
Published 24/10/2013 | 09:30
Forgotten man Emmanuel Adebayor's road to redemption could start in the most unlikely of places tonight, having travelled with Tottenham to a country that cannot be found on many a map.
The communist state of Transnistria has its own currency, police, army and border guards, although remains unrecognised by any sovereign nations.
To all intents and purposes, it is considered part of Moldova, whose football league Sheriff Tiraspol have won 11 times since 2000.
The team from the Transnistrian capital host Europa League favourites Tottenham in a Group K match that could herald the return of Adebayor.
Having tried and failed to sell the striker in the summer, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas ordered him to train with the club's development squad and gave him time off following the death of his brother in Togo.
Now back to fitness, Adebayor could make his first appearance of the season at the sold-out Stadionul Sheriff, where Aaron Lennon may start his first match after a foot injury.
Both have dropped down the pecking order after a summer of activity at White Hart Lane, but Villas-Boas rejected the notion that they need to prove their worth.
"He travelled," Villas-Boas said of Adebayor. "There is a chance he could be involved, but I'm not sure if he's starting or not.
"They don't need opportunities or chances. They're valued and they're great quality players. The difference from last year, I think, is the competition is higher.
"Last season we wouldn't rotate as much for this competition as we have so far. This is done because of the immense talent we have at our disposal.
"We can make six or seven changes now, which keeps the players fresh and motivated.
"There is always that chance they can break into the team, although both are established players and have been successful in the past."
Adebayor's chances of starting against Sheriff are restricted somewhat by the inclusion of Roberto Soldado and Jermain Defoe, who is one goal off Martin Chivers' European club record haul of 22.
Kyle Walker and Paulinho have been rested after their international exertions, as has Andros Townsend after his heroics for club and country.
"We all recognise Andros is in an exceptional moment," Villas-Boas said. "The different thing we have this season from before is we have quality throughout, which allows us to do these things.
"Last season that wasn't the case."