Ex-Tottenham striker "had to leave" Spurs to enhance World Cup bid

Defoe

Former Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe says he had to leave White Hart Lane in a bid to attract Roy Hodgson's attention.

Defoe, 31, recently left Spurs and joined up with his former Tottenham team mate Ryan Nelsen at FC Toronto, where the former New Zealand centre back is now managing.

The move to play with an MLS side is one that we've seen before for an England international after David Beckham joined Los Angeles Galaxy, but his Three Lions career fizzled out shortly after - any many believe that the same situation will arise again in Defoe's case.

But Defoe says that he made the move in order to play first team football having been frozen out at White Hart Lane, and pointed to Roma midfielder Michael Bradley's move to Toronto as proof that some players just want to play games in order to make it to the World Cup this summer.

"(United States midfielder) Michael Bradley took the same decision. He was at Roma but he wasn't playing much and he wants to play. At the end of the day you need to be playing regularly and playing well to get into a World Cup squad. You can't be at a club where you're not playing," Defoe said.

"Playing for a big club like Tottenham for all those years - nine in total - is something I'm proud of but in life opportunities come along that you sometimes have to seize. This is a fresh start for me," he added.

Defoe's frustration under previous Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was a large part of what led him to Toronto, and the former West Ham United and Portsmouth striker admitted that he was perplexed by his exclusion from the squad despite hitting goals in the Europa League.

"I think I scored something like nine goals in nine (European) games but I still wasn't getting the opportunity to play in the league," he said. "There was nothing I could do about it, it's up to the manager if he doesn't want to pick me in the league, but I did spend quite a lot of time on the bench."

"Last season I scored a hat-trick in Europe and then AVB wanted to play Adebayor up front on his own against Man City. It was frustrating but it's partly because football has become all about the squad. I guess years ago you wouldn't leave out a forward who's scoring goals," said Defoe, who marked his Toronto debut with an impressive brace to show England boss Roy Hodgson that he can still score goals.

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