Jermain Defoe thanks Sam Allardyce after signing new three-year deal

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce acknowledges fans after the game

The Sunderland striker says his superb season was down to Allardyce's willingness to play him in his preferred position.

Jermain Defoe scores the first goal for Sunderland from the penalty spot

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has thanked Sam Allardyce after signing a new three-year deal at the club, saying that the manager's decision to play him in his preferred position up front helped turn his career around, as quoted by the Chronicle.

Defoe was awarded a new extended contract at the Stadium of Light which will take him beyond his 36th birthday in recognition of a superb individual campaign.

The 33-year-old scored just four times in 19 appearances in his first half-season with the Black Cats last term, and netted just twice in six league games at the start of the most recent campaign under former manager Dick Advocaat as the Dutch boss appeared to favour playing the ex-England man in a wide position.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce

However, when Allardyce took over in October he moved Defoe back into a central role, a change that ultimately paid dividend as the striker ended the season with 15 Premier League strikes, a tally which was perhaps the biggest single factor in helping the club securing survival.

Defoe hailed Allardyce's switch and credited the change with helping to turn his season around.

The striker said after signing his new deal, as quoted by the Chronicle: "It’s well-documented that at the beginning of the season I wasn’t playing in my favourite position and it was difficult, but at the end of the day you’ve got to do a job for the team.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce acknowledges fans after the game

“But Sam has come in and played me [as the main striker] and that given me a lot of confidence. I’ve got a good relationship with Sam, he’s a top man and away from football you can knock on his door and speak to him about anything, which is always important, and I’m delighted."

Allardyce is clearly a huge fan of Defoe - the manager said after the player signed his new deal that the former Tottenham Hotspur man is one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of the Premier League.

He and Sunderland will be hoping that the experienced man can continue his goalscoring form next season as the club look to finally steer themselves away from their annual relegation battle.

Jermain Defoe celebrates after scoring the third goal for Sunderland

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