Matt Le Tissier gives his opinion on whether Jermain Defoe should have an England future

Defoe

The Southampton legend says the Sunderland striker's goal tally this season is "phenomenal" but believes his international days are behind him.

Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has told talkSPORT that although Jermain Defoe's goalscoring exploits for Sunderland this season have been "phenomenal", his time in and around the England picture has probably come to an end.

Defoe is enjoying the best domestic season of his career since 2009-10 in terms of his record in front of goal, having taken his tally to 18 from 33 matches in all competitions with his winner in the dramatic 3-2 victory over Chelsea on Saturday.

The 33-year-old has not featured for the Three Lions since 2013, but his superb form in a struggling Sunderland side had led to talk of him earning a surprise recall for Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad.

However, ahead of tonight's game against Everton in which the Black Cats can secure their survival for another year with victory, Le Tissier believes that Defoe's superb season will not be enough for him to resurrect his international career at such a comparatively advanced age.

The 47-year-old, who won eight caps for England in the 1990s, told talkSPORT: "Fifteen [league] goals this season in a team that’s struggled and not created that many chances - it’s a phenomenal achievement. He’s only beaten that once before in his career.

"Is it going to be enough to get him in the squad? I probably think not because of [Harry] Kane, [Jamie] Vardy and [Wayne] Rooney. I think they are the ones in pole position and I think Jermain’s time has probably just gone."

Though he has not played for his country in two-and-a-half years, Defoe has an impressive record at international level, having scored 19 goals in 55 caps and gained experience playing at major tournaments in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

However, the wealth of talent England now boast in attack, including Kane, Vardy, Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, and several outside candidates, means it will be extremely difficult for Defoe to force his way into the reckoning, even with a ratio of better than a goal every other game this term.

He could enhance his claim even further, however, by adding to his recent run of five goals in his last eight games and helping his club secure survival at the Stadium of Light this evening.

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