Speaking to reporters, the 33-year-old explained how he endured a frustrating period during Advocaat’s tenure and hopes the Dutchman is now watching him thrive under Sam Allardyce.
“It was frustrating (being left out). I remember Dick pulled me aside and said he didn’t believe I could play up front alone,” Defoe explained.
“I said I'd been a lone frontman for England and Tottenham and scored a lot of goals, that I’d scored a hat-trick against Bulgaria at Wembley playing that role.”
“And Dick was like, ‘Well that's my opinion' and I said, “I think you're wrong”. ‘Hopefully Dick's watching the games now.”
Defoe joined Sunderland last January and played a key role in helping the team avoid relegation last term, scoring winning goals against rivals Newcastle United and later Everton at Goodison Park.
However, after Advocaat opted to remain with the Black Cats over the summer, Defoe found opportunities hard to come by at the beginning of the season and was subsequently linked away from the club.
Doubts over his ability to play the lone forward role remained even upon Allardyce’s arrival, with a 6-2 drubbing at Everton highlighting how a lack of real team shape can be seriously punished.
Yet results have improved since, with Sunderland winning five of their last 13 Premier League matches and Defoe recording a sublime record of nine goals in 14 league starts.
Allardyce has seemingly found a way to best utilise the former Portsmouth man’s ability in-front of goal where Advocaat couldn’t – a sign of savvy management skills on Allardyce’s part.
That said, the North East club remain four points adrift of safety and without a major upturn in results they could find themselves with too much to do despite their evident improvements.