Brad Friedel insists Emmanuel Adebayor is no “bad egg” and has rejected suggestions his team-mate is a disruptive influence in the Tottenham dressing room.
It is fair to say the 30-year-old has endured a turbulent three-and-a-half years at White Hart Lane, with his reputation now arguably at its lowest ebb amongst Spurs fans.
Adebayor has been booed by some Tottenham supporters recently after commenting that the team would rather play away, which compounded a perceived lack of interest from the highly-paid striker.
The Togolese frontman may well face a similar reception from home fans if involved in Saturday’s derby clash with Arsenal, having seen a deadline-day loan to West Ham blocked by chairman Daniel Levy.
An interview in the wake of the collapsed move may have exacerbated matters, but veteran goalkeeper Friedel believes Adebayor is misunderstood.
“Emmanuel Adebayor is a very big character,” the American said.
“He’s got a very strong ego and he can deal with (the booing) but I do agree with what Mauricio (Pochettino) was saying – it does bring a negative energy.
“A lot of people want a far sexier story than it actually is. Adebayor is not a bad lad.
“He’s not bad around the training ground. He causes no issues whatsoever to any of the staff or the players.”
Tottenham players were, though, said to be angered by Adebayor reportedly bringing Newcastle players into their dressing room after a 2-1 home defeat in October.
Friedel says “that never happened”, as far as he was aware, and that the furore surrounding the striker has been blown out of proportion.
“I think the fans, because of his wages, because of his past and because of how good he can be, want to make a bigger story out of this than there actually is,” he told talkSPORT.
“The story is Mauricio came in, he likes Adebayor, Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane, and he was trying to find the right formula. Kane started scoring, so Harry is playing. I don’t think there is anything else to it than that.
“Adebayor turns up to training like everybody else and he’s a team-mate and a friend. If stories transpire in the newspapers because of it there is nothing we can do to help that.
“I think a lot of people are getting a feeling he is a bad egg around the place but he isn’t. He’s a good guy that trains and tries to get himself into the team and that is that.”