Defoe exclusion shows quality of England strikers, says Paul Merson


The striker has been in impressive form for Sunderland this season.

Jermain Defoe’s exclusion from the England squad shows just how good the Three Lions’ attacking options are, Paul Merson has told Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, broadcast from 12pm on April 23.

The Sunderland forward has been in fine form this season, scoring 16 goals in all competitions, 13 of which have come in the Premier League.

That is an impressive return for a player plying his trade in a team fighting relegation, with the striker arguably having kept them in the race this season.

Indeed, any other time and a player with such a tally would be pushing for an England call, and Merson says the fact he is not in contentions shows how good the nation’s attacking options are.

“I’m a big fan of this lad (Defoe),” he told Soccer Saturday.

“I think he’s as good as there is about. It just shows how blessed we are now with England centre forwards because at the moment he wouldn’t get a look in."

The Black Cats will now be hoping that Defoe can add a few more to his tally between now and the end of the season.

The relegation race is proving to be an extremely tight one this season and Defoe scoring goals is sure to be the difference between survival and the drop for Sunderland.

Luckily for the Black Cats he has rediscovered his goal-scoring touch in recent weeks after a short drought, and another strike against Arsenal on Sunday would be a huge boost to their survival hopes.

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