Thursday 23 November 2017

Poyet backs Defoe England recall

Jermain Defoe has been backed for an England recall by his manager Gus Poyet
Jermain Defoe has been backed for an England recall by his manager Gus Poyet

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet believes Jermain Defoe can resurrect his England career after finding his goal-scoring form for the Black Cats.

Defoe headed back to England last month just 11 months into a four-year Major League Soccer contract at Toronto and has immediately hit the goal trail on Wearside.

The 32-year-old scored his second Sunderland goal in three Barclays Premier League starts in the 1-1 draw at Swansea on Saturday, becoming the first player to register against every one of the 20 clubs in the top flight.

But Poyet believes the 55-times capped Defoe can do even better than that and once more play for an England side he last represented against Chile in November 2013.

"When you pick strikers you pick those in form and scoring goals," Poyet said.

"We saw today Harry Kane at Spurs and it's an obvious choice, but Jermain has a chance if Wayne Rooney plays in midfield.

"But that's up to Roy (Hodgson) to decide. I respect the manager of the national team and the only thing the player can do is perform."

Defoe's arrival has certainly lifted Sunderland and the Black Cats battled for a precious point in south Wales after winning back-to-back games against Burnley and at Fulham in the FA Cup for the first time this season.

"We are a different team with Jermain," Poyet said after former Sunderland loanee Ki Sung-yueng had deprived his side of all three points with a diving second-half header.

"When you've got a player sooner or later that you know is going to score it makes the rest of the team believe that you've got a chance to win football games.

"I've been killing myself to think, 'Do I need to have to give him a rest?' He's been out for four months.

"But I can't and I have to say, 'Sorry J, you have to play because I cannot let games go pass without playing you'.''

"(Costel) Pantilimon made a couple of very good saves so you cannot say we deserved to win, but we had a very good first half and I was pleased with the way we played and passed the ball."

Swansea manager Garry Monk was left to rue Ki's disallowed first-half effort as the midfielder was flagged for offside moments before Defoe fired Sunderland into a 42nd-minute lead.

Monk joked the decision was so tight that he would order South Korean to get his hair cut.

"I was told his hairline was offside, although I am not sure that is part of the rules," Monk said.

"Our cameras mean you do not get close ups of things like that so I will need to have another look - but I will have to tell Ki to cut his hair!

"It's one of those where sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. We have had a few like that this season."

Monk felt Swansea created enough chances to win, but said his side were punished for switching off.

"It was frustrating as they scored from their only shot when we gave Defoe too much space," Monk said.

"We did not close it down and we got done, which set us back.

"We got a good equaliser, tried to push for the second and I felt we were the better team, but it was not to be."

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