Defoe was named as Sunderland’s Player of the Year yesterday, and he has enjoyed a wonderful campaign.
The 33-year-old may be in the twilight of his career, but he has rolled back the years to become a key player at the Stadium of Light.
Defoe has netted 13 Premier League goals this term, and Allardyce admits that if the former England international hadn’t been found the net so regularly, his side would already be relegated.
“On the basis of what the lads have done scoring wise - if we hadn’t had Jermain Defoe, we probably would have been relegated by now,“ Allardyce said.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. He’s scored 13 goals and nobody else is anywhere near him.
“The rest of the players haven’t achieved as many goals as they should have done, which is why we have struggled.”
When Allardyce first took over, he seemed to be reluctant to start Defoe as a lone striker.
Allardyce spoke of his concern about playing the predatory striker on his own up front, but Defoe has made the position his own now.
Sunderland have struggled for goals from other players - with Fabio Borini currently their second top scorer, even though he has only found the back of the net four times this term.
Defoe’s goals have helped Sunderland make it into 17th place in the Premier League table, with just four games left to play this season.