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Defoe unfazed by Adebayor return
Published : 06 Oct 2012 08:29:00
Jermain Defoe insists he is not worried about losing his place in the Tottenham starting XI despite the return of Emmanuel Adebayor. Adebayor will be in Tottenham's squad for the first time in over a month this weekend as Andre Villas-Boas' men look to bounce back from a disappointing draw against Panathinaikos by beating Aston Villa in the Premier League at White Hart Lane. Defoe has been the main beneficiary of Adebayor's hamstring injury, scoring four times as the lone striker in Villas-Boas' 4-2-3-1 formation. Yet doubts remain as to whether the England hitman has the ability to operate in that role given that he is not as strong or tall as Adebayor, who was Harry Redknapp's first-choice in that position for the vast majority of last season. Defoe insists his recent record as a lone striker for Spurs and England, with whom he has scored two goals this season in the same role, shows he is more than capable of playing up front on his own. "For me, him being back is not a problem," Defoe said. "You get pressure your whole career. There has always been pressure - it is something you get used to." Adebayor's contribution to Tottenham finishing fourth last season should not be under-estimated. As a former Arsenal player, he faced a huge task in winning over the Spurs fans but he did so quite easily last season thanks to his tireless work-rate and effective link-up play with Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and the now-departed Rafael van der Vaart. Defoe's role as an impact substitute under Redknapp led to suggestions, some from the striker himself, that he saw his future away from Tottenham, but he put an end to that after a series of meetings in which Villas-Boas told him he would be his main striker this season. Those meetings had the desired effect Villas-Boas was looking for. Defoe signed a new contract in August and he is brimming with confidence on the pitch thanks to the game time he has been getting under Villas-Boas. "My form this season has been the result of the manager playing me for 90 minutes," Defoe added. "That has allowed me to relax, make sure my movement is good and make sure I don't panic that I am going to come off after an hour. "When you play games, you get fitter and sharper. "At times, you find yourself the only striker at the club who is fit, but I haven't been getting complacent. Every game I want to play, do well, score goals and win." One of the players who will emerge from the away dressing room on Sunday is now going through what Defoe experienced last term. Much is expected of Darren Bent given that Villa paid £18million for his services last January, but the 28-year-old was surprisingly dropped by new manager Paul Lambert for last Sunday's derby against West Brom. Bent, who has also lost the captaincy since Lambert arrived, duly came off the bench to score a crucial equaliser against the Baggies, but the England striker refused to paint a positive picture of his situation at Villa Park afterwards, admitting he had not been given an explanation as to why he was dropped. The former Sunderland striker also admitted he had undergone "a couple of crappy weeks". Defoe, who knows Bent from their time together at Spurs and with England, understands what the former Charlton hitman is going through. "I feel sympathy for him," Defoe said. "Benty's a good player. He has just come back from injury a few weeks ago. I had the same injury and sometimes it takes a while to get back to your best. "But he is a natural goal scorer, so I am sure if he gets chances, he will score goals. "He has a good character. I watched the game last week and that is what good goalscorers do."