Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe has criticised Andre Villas-Boas' decision to force Emmanuel Adebayor to train with the club's development team.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker was allowed to leave the club on compassionate leave last week but will not link up with the Tottenham first team upon his return, despite the Togolese's claims that he wants to fight for a first team role.
Tottenham were keen to sell Adebayor during the summer transfer window but the 29-year-old rejected interest from clubs such as Besiktas and Schalke to remain at White Hart Lane.
Both Adebayor and Defoe have been displaced by Roberto Soldado at the focal point of Tottenham's attack, but while Defoe remains as the club's second choice striker at this moment in time his fellow striker languishes in the reserves, with Villas-Boas hinting that even youngster Harry Kane is higher in the pecking order than last summer's £5m signing.
Despite his manager's stance, Defoe insists Adebayor still has a big role to play at the club and hopes to see his teammate back amongst the first team squad soon.
When quizzed on Abebayor's exile, Defoe said: "I don't think it helps the team because someone like Manu is a great player and played for some of the top clubs in the world.
"He is someone that we're going to need, we're going to need his goals and what he can bring to the team. He is keeping himself fit. He is a happy guy and loves his football. Hopefully he will be back soon with the team."
Having enjoyed an excellent season during the 2011/12 campaign while on loan from Manchester City, Adebayor's fortunes faded last season after the club completed a protracted move to sign him on a permanent basis.
The striker would score just five goals in the Premier League, but recently spoke of his determination to overhaul Defoe and Soldado and become the club's leading man up front.
"I have never thought of leaving Spurs, I am here, my family feels great here and I do not see myself in another city," Adebayor said last week.
"Today I will not tell you that I am stronger than Soldado or Defoe or Lamela.
"We now have four in the attack. I do not know who ranks first, second or third but I know at the end I will be the first and it is the most important."