Saturday 24 February 2018

Defoe admits bench leaves him angry

West Brom 1 Tottenham 3

Jon Culley, at The Hawthorns

Jermain Defoe admits he struggles to stop frustration turning to anger in his efforts to convince Harry Redknapp that he should be at the forefront of Tottenham's ambitions as dark horses for the Premier League title.

The 29-year-old striker marked his first Tottenham start in eight weeks with a fine goal as Redknapp's side made it nine wins in their last 10 league games to stay third, but did so aware that he played only because Rafael van der Vaart was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

He is worried, too, about his international career after being omitted from Fabio Capello's latest England squads and confided afterwards that keeping his head is as much a battle as keeping his form.

"It's been frustrating because I haven't got any patience," he said. "I love scoring goals -- even in training.

"So it's difficult if you are not playing but you know that if your head goes, then you aren't going to give your best. If you are playing and you are angry then you are not concentrating."

It has not helped that Defoe considers himself to be in optimum physical shape after working since the summer with French fitness guru Tiberius Darau, who used to help Arsenal's players. "The way I feel now, compared to last season, is totally different. I feel really explosive and know I'm going to get into positions to score goals."

Redknapp's preference for Van der Vaart to partner Emmanuel Adebayor has led to speculation about a January move for Defoe but Redknapp reiterated his insistence that Defoe will stay, with Roman Pavlyuchenko more likely to leave White Hart Lane.

"Pav might want to go in the window and then you've only got two strikers -- so we are not in a position where we could let Jermain go even if he wanted to move," Redknapp said.

"I know he isn't happy because he wants to play. But I knew he was sharp and ready today and hopefully he will continue so that when Rafa's fit I have a problem. It's up to him."

Tottenham trailed after poor defending allowed Youssouf Mulumbu to head Albion in front.

An equaliser before half-time, when Adebayor followed up his own saved penalty, perhaps flattered Redknapp's team but, with Scott Parker again outstanding, they stepped up in the second half.

While 81 minutes had gone before Defoe -- with a typically explosive run and immaculate finish -- put them in front with his fifth goal in as many Premier League starts, it was always coming, as was a second for Adebayor, his seventh in 10. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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