Speaking to the official Sunderland website, Jermain Defoe has praised the impact Harry Redknapp had on his career, having worked under the English manager at West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.
Defoe said: “ Harry was brilliant, he just gave me confidence as a kid. [Under him] if you’re good enough you’re going to play, it’s as simple as that. Even certain games, I was on the bench for the first-team, and just to have that experience. He’d be like ‘Jermain, you’re travelling with the first-team’.”
It was at West Ham that Defoe started his career, playing under Redknapp in what would turn out to be an enduring partnership.
The forward, now 32, moved to Portsmouth in 2008 when Redknapp was manager, and then followed him to Spurs the year after, returning to White Hart Lane after already spending a spell there.
He has flourished whenever playing under the now out-of-work manager, particular enjoying his time with Tottenham and West Ham, and working his way into the England squad after moving to Spurs.
Defoe returned to England in the January transfer window, and is currently playing with Sunderland, although he has yet to hit his former heights.
They will be hoping that he can start to replicate his early career form at the Stadium of Light, starting this weekend, when the Black Cats host first club West Ham on Wearside.