| 17.9°C Dublin

Hero Defoe glad surgery stalled

Jermain Defoe revealed his relief at deciding to cancel his groin operation after bagging his first England hat-trick in last night's 4-0 European Championship qualifying win over Bulgaria.

Defoe was all set to spend the international break recovering from surgery after struggling to shake off a long-standing injury at the start of the season.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp initially declared that Defoe would miss the Euro 2012 double-header against Bulgaria and Switzerland but eventually decided he could play on after coming through his club's last two games unscathed.

Defoe said of his operation: "I'm glad I didn't have it now!

"It's been a little bit sore to be honest but I've done a lot of work in the gym -- a lot of core work -- to try to improve it and tonight I didn't get a reaction."

It did not look that way when Defoe limped off moments after completing his treble but the 27-year-old revealed he had only suffered a kick to his ankle and would be fit for Tuesday's match against the Swiss in Basle.

"It's fine. Just a precaution," he said.

Defoe was also keeping his fingers crossed for Spurs team-mate Michael Dawson, who suffered a freak injury reminiscent of Michael Owen's at the 2006 World Cup when his left leg collapsed underneath him.

"He's on crutches at the minute," said Defoe. "Hopefully, it's not his knee. Maybe it's his ankle. It looked like he was in a lot of pain. I just hope he's all right."

Defoe hopes becoming the first England player to score a hat-trick at the new Wembley will help him cement a place in the side for the entire Euro 2012 campaign.

He added: "I just want to keep it going, keep getting in the positions where I'm going to score."

Doing that last night was made easy thanks to the unselfishness of strike partner Wayne Rooney.

Defoe may have stolen the headlines but the match also witnessed Rooney's rebirth as a force on the international stage, the Manchester United star eventually shaking off the cobwebs to have a hand in all four of England's goals.


Rooney was particularly generous in supporting Defoe in his goal glut, something which did not go unacknowledged by the Spurs star.

"It's always nice when you play with a partner and they want you to score the third goal," he said.

"When I was on the second, he said to me, 'Keep going and you'll get the hat-trick'.

"When I did, he was the first one to come over."

He added of his treble: "It's a fantastic feeling, to score for your country, to score a hat-trick and to win the game."

Despite starting together plenty of times in the past, Defoe and Rooney have never before really hit it off.

Acknowledging this, Defoe said: "I've always said sometimes it takes time to get things working."