Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has suggested to FourFourTwo that Jermain Defoe is not guaranteed a place in the starting lineup.
Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Defoe joined Sunderland from MLS outfit Toronto FC in January 2015 and played an important role in the Black Cats’ avoiding relegation to the Championship.
The 33-year-old scored four goals and created 13 chances in 17 Premier League appearances in the second half of last season.
With Sunderland once again struggling for survival in the top flight of English football, Defoe is expected to score goals to help out his team.
The former West Ham United star has found the target twice and has created four chances in six league matches for the Black Cats so far this season.
Allardyce, who replaced Dick Advocaat as the Sunderland manager last week, has suggested that he may not be able to guarantee Defoe a place in his starting lineup.
“There is always a place for a goalscorer but you cannot just be a goalscorer today so I don't know if that's something we need to address with Jermain," Allardyce told FourFourTwo.
"He came here and has not played as much as he would have liked. Players who don’t play generally don't play because they drop themselves, not because you have dropped them.”
Sunderland are second from bottom in the Premier League table at the moment with three points from eight matches.
The Black Cats will take on West Bromwich Albion away from home at The Hawthorns in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.