Sunderland's Jermain Defoe talks up Tim Sherwood ahead of Aston Villa's visist

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker will face his old boss when the claret and blues visit the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has told the club’s official website of his respect for Tim Sherwood ahead of the former Tottenham Hotspur manager bringing his Aston Villa side to the North East on the weekend.

Sherwood was on the Tottenham coaching staff throughout Defoe’s second spell at the club between 2009 and 2014, with the England international make a handful of appearances under him after his promotion to the head coaching role in December 2013 following Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking.

Having taken over Villa last month, the ex-midfielder has recovered from straight defeats in his first two Premier League games in charge to record back-to-back wins over Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion, and Defoe believes they will come to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon riding a wave of confidence as a result.

“A new manager comes in and he lifts the fans, the players and the whole club,” he said. “The players have got something to prove to the manager so they’ll give that little bit extra, and they’ve done that.

“I saw some of the highlights of the past two games and it’s high-intensity stuff. They’re trying to get points as well so it’s like a cup final for us."

On Sherwood, he continued: “He wants you just to go out and express yourself. Go and play the game, and just work hard. Even in training he always wants it to be high-intensity to take into the game.

“That’s what it was like with him at Tottenham, and even with the way his Under-21s played.”

Having moved to Toronto FC soon after Sherwood’s appointment at Tottenham, Defoe spent just one full season in MLS before returning to the Premier League this winter in a swap deal for the misfiring Jozy Altidore.

He got his Black Cats career off to a successful start, netting twice in his first three league games, but has since failed to score in the past four top-flight matches, with the club going winless during that time.

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