Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has finally been recalled to the England squad. Unfortunately for him it will be against the current World Cup champions.
With a tough friendly game against Germany coming to warm us up for our World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, Jermaine says he “can’t wait” to play for England again.
Defoe has somehow managed to bag himself 14 Premier League goals this season for a team sitting bottom of the league, 7 points from survival, with only 8 games remaining. The prolific Harry Kane is the only other Englishman to score more goals this season (19).
After being unconsidered for over 3 years, Jermain will be hoping to add to his scoring record for England, scoring 19 times in 55 appearances since making his debut against Sweden in 2004.
Talking to TalkSport, Defoe explained that “when you’ve had that experience of going to major tournaments, it’s something that you just crave. I’ve been blessed to have gone to two major tournaments.” “If I do get the opportunity to go to another major tournament, it’d be a dream.”
But what difference can the the 34-year-old make to an England side that gave its nation nightmares after an embarrassing round of 16 exit to Iceland? Well, one things for sure he’s definitely at an age now to be considered experienced. Experience being something we lacked in the 2016 UEFA Euro disaster. When you’re playing on the big stage in one of the biggest sporting events in the world, you need a cool head and a tonne of composure in front of goal. On top of that, he is renowned for being clinical in a one-on-one situation. If he has a clear opportunity against any goalkeeper, you can be sure he will find the back of the net. Probably.
On the other hand, should we as over-optimistic England fans be worried by Gareth Southgate’s trust in whom today is considered an elderly footballer? Personally, I think not. As Bill Shankly once said, “form is temporary, class is permanent” and Jermaine Defoe is a class centre forward. Would he have been called up to the England squad if Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney wasn’t injured? Probably not. But will he prove to be a good England selection? Yes. I hope.
Not only is this England selection a big achievement for the 5ft 7 giant, but it may also turn out to be a life saver for Sunderland. With The Black Cats desperate for points to climb out of the relegation zone, a call up for Jermain may give him the confidence boost he needs to continue improving his goal-scoring form. As well as this, it may also give the other underperforming Sunderland players the belief and urge to improve their own game in an attempt to match Defoe’s form. Because, if we’re being honest with each other, without that man upfront, Sunderland would already be saying hello to life in the Sky Bet Championship, reuniting themselves with their northern best friends.