Roy Hodgson and England fans were dealt a cruel blow with the news that Danny Welbeck looks set to miss Euro 2016 with a knee injury. However, his absence could well be Jermain Defoe’s gain and Football Ticket Pad looks at why the Sunderland frontman would be the ideal replacement in England’s 23-man squad.
A player with 55 caps, scored the last England hat-trick and is also the last player to score a winning goal for England at a major tournament, why look any further than Jermain Defoe?
Here are five reasons why the Sunderland striker should be on the plane to France and why he should return to the international stage for the first time since 2013.
International experience: Unlike Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, Defoe has got experience at major tournaments. He has appeared at a World Cup and European championships for England and has an impressive international record of 19 goals in 55 appearances for the Three Lions with 32 of those appearances coming off the substitute bench. He also remains the last player to score a winning goal for England at a major tournament after he scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over Slovenia at the 2010 World Cup to help them progress to the last 16.
Scoring goals for a struggling Sunderland in the Premier League: Jermain Defoe appeared to be edging towards the end of his career with a move to the MLS with Toronto. However, since returning back to the Premier League with Sunderland, Defoe has not lost his goal scoring instinct. This season, with Sunderland fighting against relegation, Defoe has scored the goals which could keep them in the top flight. His 15 league goals make him the third highest scoring Englishman this season after Kane and Vardy.
Natural goal scorer: Wherever Jermain Defoe has been, goals have came with him. Throughout his career, whether it be at Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth or Toronto the Englishman has scored plenty. At the age of 33, Defoe is showing no signs of losing his goalscoring touch and there is no reason why he can’t do it for England this summer. Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney are all certain to travel. However, unlike Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, Defoe has proved he is fit and has played regularly this season. As a striker, especially in the Premier League, you get judged on the goals you have scored and there are not many with a better record than Defoe who has 143 Premier League goals making him the 11th highest goalscorer of all time.
Can play out wide in a 4-3-3: At Sunderland under Dick Advocaat, Defoe was out of favour. However, when he did play he was often preferred as a wide man rather than a striker playing down the middle. Naturally, Defoe is one a centre forward. However, with Kane and Vardy ahead of him in the pecking order should he go to France, he could well be a suitable option if Hodgson opts for a preferred 4-3-3 system which he has used in the past.
Thrives on pressure: Throughout his illustrious career, Defoe has scored a number of vital goals. Defoe feeds off the pressure placed on his shoulders and the expectation to perform when called upon is what gets the best out of Defoe, whether it be from the start of the game or coming off the bench and making an impact.
A recent example of Defoe thriving on the pressure is his recent brace against Chelsea to secure a 3-2 aggregate win to put his Sunderland side on the brink of Premier League safety. A timely reminder to Roy Hodgson of the capabilities that Defoe can offer an England team where the expectation is fast reaching fever pitch.
Roy Hodgson is expected to name his 23-man squad on Thursday and if I was Jermain Defoe, I would keep my mobile phone close by my side just incase the England hierarchy come calling.
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