If there is a striker that I still rate in the English Premier League, Jermain Defoe is that striker. He can be prolific in front of goal and has scored crucial goals for both club and country. Last season, there was a period when he was confined to the bench at Spurs and this season he has had some regular game time and his manager Harry Redknapp even commended him for his improved form. Defoe’s improvement has been attributed to the help he got from the French fitness specialist who was recommended to him by Ian Wright. He took that initiative in order to help himself revive both his club and England career and time will tell if it has been a success.
What went wrong for Defoe that saw him be restricted in game time for Spurs – something that continues to jeopardise his England career? Why has Harry not been using Defoe as often when we all know that he can be score goals when he is on song? At times, I am tempted to think that there is a Mancini-Tevez type of relationship between Harry and Defoe even though I have not heard Defoe asking for a move away from Spurs (despite media rumours of him moving away with Arsenal reportedly interested in signing him). I Am sure the usual “top four” teams would love to have a player like Defoe scoring goals for them because he clearly has an eye for goal.
One interesting comment I heard Redknapp say to the media was that he was worried by being haunted by a returning Defoe if he were sold. So is Defoe unwanted at Spurs, but only kept around to prevent him “haunting” them? If not, and he is wanted, why then is Harry not doing enough to make sure that Defoe consistently maintains his place in the England team by playing him regularly? Giving him game time and him failing to deliver is one thing, but picking players like Pavlyuchenko or van der Vaart who are sometimes dismal ahead of him is unfair to Defoe.
On current form, I must admit Emmanuel Adebayor offers something that has helped Spurs win games and picking him ahead of Defoe might not raise any eyebrows but some of these other players who have preferred in place of Defoe do not deserve to be in the starting line up. Defoe is an experienced player who still has a lot to offer for both Spurs and England and deserves to play regularly – unless there are issues that we are not privy to between manager and player at Spurs. Definitely lack of form is not the reason why Defoe is not first choice and he must fear that lack of club opportunities could harm his international career.