March 23, 2017

Jermain Defoe says he never gave up hope of an England recall

20 March 2017, 09:59 | Joan Schultz

Defoe has scored 33 Premier League goals for the Black Cats since joining in January 2015

Defoe has scored 33 Premier League goals for the Black Cats since joining in January 2015

Manchester United forward Rooney has endured a frustrating campaign at Old Trafford, becoming a bit-part player and starting just one Premier League game in 2017. "If I do get an opportunity to get to another major tournament it will be a dream".

Sunderland and England striker Jermain Defoe has been talking about being back in the squad at the age of 34.

"Now you want to try to help the younger lads".

"When I went to Toronto (in MLS in early 2014) I missed out on going to the World Cup and it was a hard call to take".

'I was getting a lot of stick from the lads at the training ground because I've still got the England flag on my boots, ' Defoe said. I was hoping one day I'll get the opportunity and it's come so I'm delighted.

The ex-Tottenham striker does, however, admit he needs to play in the top flight, with Sunderland facing an uphill task to stave off relegation down to the Championship.

"On a personal note if I'm feeling sharp I believe I can score goals".

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"Somebody's got to have it. Gareth Southgate's talking about a number of captains, I certainly don't agree with saying we should be changing captains, I don't agree with that at all".

The Southampton midfielder has impressed this season and worked under Southgate when the England boss managed the under-21s.

'Everyone knows how much I love playing football, love scoring goals.

Defoe is back in the England fold after injuries to others but he stands a good chance of forcing a way into the 23-man squad if the next 12 months yield more goals.

That is reward for his 14 goals in 28 league games this term, as well as a effect of an attack shorn of the injured Harry Kane and rusty Wayne Rooney, though Defoe has set his sights firmly on keeping his place for a third major worldwide tournament. I've been blessed to have gone to two major tournaments. "Because of his experience, he is, for me, the flawless man for the job". Just going to a major tournament, travelling, getting to the hotels, playing the games - it's something you've always wanted to do from being a kid, growing up watching the great players over the years.

"To be lucky enough to have experienced it you just want it more and more".

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