Emmanuel Adebayor says Alan Pardew has told him to “be a leader” after signing for Crystal Palace on a free transfer.
The 31-year-old last week joined Palace as a free agent and made his debut as a substitute in Tuesday evening’s 2-1 home Premier League defeat by Bournemouth.
He missed a fine chance to equalise in stoppage time when snatching at a close-range chance in a way that suggested he remains short of sharpness.
But the Togolese forward is already feeling settled with the Eagles and, amid wider concerns Pardew has taken a risk in signing a player with his divisive reputation, Adebayor is well aware what his new boss expects.
“He said I have to be a leader,” the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham frontman said. “Which means I have to set an example. Which means I have to come on time in training, do my job professionally and that is what I am doing.
“There is a bad reputation about Adebayor. But if you ask every single manager that I work under, maybe (only) one or two would say I am a bad apple in the dressing room. I am always smiling with everyone.
“The players have made it easy for me. The lads have made life easy for me. It is a good squad with good players and I can guarantee that the squad in the dressing room is one of the best. It makes life easier for me.
“I do not have anything to prove. I just want to enjoy my football. I have been there and done it. The fans already love me, so I have to do my best. I always have a smile on my face.
“I have not played a full game since May but I think have played more than these guys in the Premier League. It is quite easy to organise a game in Africa. I just had to call some of my friends and tell them I was in the mood to play football. Then we would play a proper game with proper professionals.”
The three points for Bournemouth took their total to 28 points from 24 games, leaving them on course for more than simply survival despite a difficult first half to the season in which they were undermined by serious injuries to several important players.
Pardew surprisingly criticised the performance of referee Mike Jones in the belief Adam Smith may have deserved a red card for a late foul on Jordon Mutch, but Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said: “The referee did well not to give every time (Wilfried) Zaha fell over a free-kick for it, because that’s an easy trap to fall into.
“I’m not saying they’re dives. There’s a big difference between a foul and not a foul, and feeling something and going down: I’m not saying that.”