Gone but not forgotten: England veteran confident of World Cup place

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe insists that he can still earn a place in England’s 23-man World Cup squad.

Jermain Defoe’s decision to leave the Premier League for Major League Soccer earlier this year came as a massive surprise to many. True, the striker was not getting enough games at Tottenham Hotspur under first Andre-Villas Boas and then Tim Sherwood, but at the age of 31 he could have still carried on in the English top flight.

Not that the MLS is a ‘retirement home’ – although some players do tend to treat it that way - but Defoe’s departure from England (and Europe) did raise doubts on whether he would be considered by Three Lions coach Roy Hodgson for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil in the summer.

Defoe, though, has been an instant hit for Toronto FC in the MLS. He made his debut against the Seattle Sounders on March 15 and scored both goals in a 2-1 win. In the following game, his only goal saw Ryan Nelsen’s side eke out a 1-0 victory against DC United.

However, since featuring against Salt Lake City in a match that Toronto lost 3-0, the former West Ham United forward has been suffering from a hamstring injury and has been out for a month now. He has recovered and is raring to get going, if only to make sure that Hodgson is taking notes across the pond.

‘I missed three games’, Sky Sports quotes him as saying. ‘It happens in football, players get injured. But if you miss three games and that changes the fact that you could, I don't know, go to a tournament, that's crazy.

‘I don't feel like I need to sell myself to anyone because I will just let my football do the talking. I've done that since I made my professional debut at 17. I'm sure the manager knows what I can do.

‘It's been really frustrating because when you get off to a good start, you just want it to continue as long as possible. Luckily enough it wasn't something that was too serious.

‘It was just a case of resting and doing your rehab stuff. But yeah it feels fine now. I feel 100%. I've worked really hard. So maybe I'll come back stronger than I was before, which is important for the team’.

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