The Tottenham manager has stated that the England international will remain behind Roberto Soldado in his preferences in attack.
Jermain Defoe has had a landmark week, with his goal against FC Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday putting him in the Tottenham history books.
The England international striker has now scored more goals in European competition than anyone in the north London club’s history, surpassing Martin Chivers’ tally of 22 strikes.
Despite Defoe obviously being buoyed by the feat, Andre Villas-Boas has stated that the record will not force Spurs’ preferences when it comes to team selection.
"He has scored nine goals, which has been a great start for him, but it [breaking Chivers' record] doesn't change our perspective regarding his position in the team," Villas-Boas admitted.
"We've been rotating and giving opportunities to players playing in the Europa League to break into the Premier League team. Jermain played against West Ham, then we went back to Soldado playing in the Premier League.
“We're extremely happy with both and it's just a question of deciding what is better on a specific date regarding our strategy."
With Defoe only starting one Premier League game this season, his place in the England World Cup squad next summer could well be under threat due to a lack of first-team football.
AVB admitted that not playing regularly in the Premier League will be a frustration for the forward but that his place in the national set-up should not be jeopardised.
"I'm not sure about Roy Hodgson's selection process. From what I've seen, he's been counting on Defoe and he has been included in all call-ups this season,” the Portuguese coach continued.
"Obviously, everyone wants to get matches in the Premier League, but we've found comfort playing in this system and three strikers [Soldado, Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor] are competing for one position. So it's not easy for any of them."
In truth, Villas-Boas’ comments come as no major shock, as Soldado was always likely to keep his place in the Tottenham starting XI.
However, the way that the former Chelsea manager has handled the situation could have been better. Defoe has just broken a longstanding club record, and should be commended for his efforts. Villas-Boas’ comments somewhat diminish the achievement and will bring Defoe back down to reality with a bang.
An in-form and confident Jermain Defoe can be a real weapon, even from the bench, and AVB needs to keep the England striker happy and on his side. His latest comments threaten to ostraicise the striker further, with Defoe sure to be panicking that his chances to play in the World Cup could well be under threat due to his club manager’s team selection.
image: © OliverN5