Jermain Defoe suggests MLS move led to World Cup snub

Jermain Defoe

In an interview with the BBC, Jermain Defoe has claimed that moving to Toronto FC in the winter pushed him out of England's World Cup plans.

Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe has suggested that leaving Tottenham Hotspur last winter for MLS was the reason for his omission from the England World Cup squad.

Forced into bit-part role over the first-half of the 2013-14 season with Spurs, Defoe insisted upon making his £6 million move across the pond that his chances of making it on the plane to Brazil would be helped rather than hindered thanks to regular minutes in Toronto.

Three goals in his first two games suggested that the 55-times capped striker was about to prove a point but, after a hamstring injury saw him miss the whole of April, there would be no place in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad.

Still irked at the decision, Defoe claims he could have been a valuable contributor this summer and now believes his switch to the Canadian club made him an outsider in the Three Lions manager’s plans.

‘I just thought at the time that maybe I’d done enough to get one the plane – that’s how I felt in my heart, but obviously it wasn’t meant to be,’ he told the BBC.

‘Obviously, when I look back now, maybe that’s the reason; leaving the Premier League and coming to a different league.

‘The Premier League’s probably the best league in the world, and he [Hodgson] probably thought there were ones still playing well there who deserved to go more than me.’

After scoring 11 goals in his first 13 games in Toronto, a nagging groin problem saw Defoe make just five further appearances from July onwards, as the club missed out on a first-ever play-off spot in tumultuous fashion.

His commitment to the club questioned following a hectic transfer deadline saga which almost saw him return to England with Queens Park Rangers, Defoe admits he doesn’t know what his club future holds, but his desire to return to the international setup suggests a move back to home shores could be in store.

‘I’ll never rule myself out from playing for my country,’ he said. ‘To get in any international squad is obviously based on merit. You’ve got to be doing well for your club.

The time I had in the England squad from 2004 was fantastic. Scoring all those goals, getting all those caps was something special. I’d love to have that feeling again.

‘We’ll see what happens.’

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