Jermain Defoe: One of the games best natural finishers, but yet so underrated

Defoe faces a huge battle on his hands this season to be Andre Villas Boas’ Jermain man up front. With AVB saying that he plans to stick with one striker in the side, it seems £26 million man Roberto Soldado will keep Defoe out of the starting 11.

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Jermain Defoe burst onto the scene in the 2000/2001 season when on loan at Bournemouth, where he managed the remarkable feat of scoring in 10 consecutive games. This equalled the post-war record set by John Aldridge and Clarrie Jordan (Pre-war, Dixie Dean managed to score 23 goals in 12 consecutive games for Everton). However, Jermain managed to do this in his first 10 games for the club, making his achievement unique. Aged just 18 Defoe managed to make himself a cult hero at Dean Court despite just spending three months there. The next season Defoe found himself in Glenn Roeder’s Hammers side, and led the way in the goalscoring charts, finishing the season with 14 goals. The following season West Ham were relgated and Defoe made his first move to Tottenham Hotspur.

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In his time at Spurs and a year at Portsmouth Defoe has showed that he is one of the most consistent strikers in England and boasts incredible goalscoring records. He has become Tottenham’s seventh all time leading scorer. In the league alone, he has scored 152 goals in 297 starts. An average of better than a goal every 2 starts. His statistics in cup competitions are even more impressive.

(Including substitute appearances)
League – Games 418  Goals 152
FA Cup – Games 36 Goals 22
League Cup – Games 27 Goals 18
Europe – Games 38 Goals 22

The majority of these goals would have been very pleasing on the eye too. He very rarely scores scrappy goals. Instead executing fantastic finishes with aplomb, whether it’s a scorching volley into the top corner, or a cheeky dink over the ‘keeper. I have watched a lot of Football in my life and not many if any come close to making scoring look as easy as Jermain Defoe does. The chances are if you give him a good enough chance he will score, and finish it emphatically. He’s played at the top level pretty much all his career and has been in and around the starting 11 that whole time too. Surely someone of his quality in the peak of his career should warrant a start in the Premiership and not just European games?

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In an interview recently conducted with the BBC for Football Focus, JD said he doesn’t want to sit on the bench and just be an impact player, and who can blame him? No one wants that role, despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Tor Andre Flo making careers out of it. It would seem you need three names for that role anyway. Tottenham are an ambitious side, and have invested heavily but wisely with the money brought in from the sale of Gareth Bale (Who saw that one coming?…..). Therefore it was not a surprise to see AVB bring in another striker in Soldado. But it shouldn’t result in Defoe being overlooked and only used as an impact sub. Whilst it seems the manager is unwilling to experiment with a 4-4-2 formation it is a shame that we are yet to see how Soldado and Defoe could combine up front together. The latter has played with many different types of strikers in his career; Crouch, Keane, Rooney, and has complimented each of them well. He is also capable of leading the line alone, and could be a better option than Soldado for certain games. He has the ability to create a chance out of nothing, and that shouldn’t be ignored.

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Jermain Defoe’s England career has never really taken off. Since making his debut against Sweden in 2004 he has gone on to make 54 appearances scoring 19 goals. 32 of those appearances were from the bench, and he did not complete a full 90 minutes for his country until his 51st appearance. Despite making his debut 9 years ago, he has only been included in the last two tournament squads. Missing out on Euro 2004, and more surprisingly on the 2006 World Cup when an untried and untested 17-year-old Theo Walcott made the squad instead. If we look back to the disastrous 2010 World Cup in South Africa, it was Defoe who was turned to in the hour of need. After disappointing results against USA and Algeria, which mustered up one goal for England, Defoe started the must win match against Slovakia and duly delivered scoring the winning goal. You can count on this man for a goal, but yet his chances for the national side have been very limited. Whilst Rooney is obviously one of the first names on the team sheet for England, his strike partner has often changed. With the current options available Defoe finds himself competing with Lambert, Carroll, Welbeck and Sturridge. Perhaps Sturridge aside Defoe is far more clinical than the others, but yet in the recent matches against Moldova and Ukraine he wasn’t given any game time even with many injuries and suspensions for the other strikers. If Defoe was given 20 minutes or so against Ukraine, then there would definitely have been a few opportunities for him to break the deadlock and take England one step closer to Brazil.
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Harry Redknapp allegedly tried to reunite himself with Defoe once again this summer, this time at QPR. You cant blame Harry for trying but to see Defoe in the Championship would be a great shame. He can still score plenty of goals at the highest level when given an opportunity. Andre Villas Boas will know this and must not be afraid to leave Roberto Soldado on the bench now and again. Furthermore the experiment to try them both up front together must be tried. If not then perhaps Jermain will seek a move away from White Hart Lane. He would surely have many Premier League suitors, and I for one hope that he has a good season and then goes on to play a big part for England in next summer’s World Cup.

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