Sunday 25 March 2018

Moyes backs Defoe to edge way into Sam's squad

Southampton 1 - Sunderland 1, St Mary's Stadium

Sunderland's Jeremain Lens appeals for a foul after being challenged by Southampton's Matt Targett. Photo: John Walton
Sunderland's Jeremain Lens appeals for a foul after being challenged by Southampton's Matt Targett. Photo: John Walton
Southampton's Steven Davis in action with Sunderland's Donald Love and Adnan Januzaj. Photo: Matthew Childs
Sunderland's Jack Rodwell (left) and Southampton's Oriol Romeu battle for the ball. Photo: John Walton
Referee Lee Mason shows a yellow card to Sunderland's Steven Pienaar. Photo: Peter Nicholls
Southampton's Nathan Redmond encourages his team-mates. Photo: John Walton

Nick Purewal

David Moyes has refused to rule out Jermain Defoe edging his way into Sam Allardyce's first squad as England manager. Defoe won and converted a penalty as Sunderland claimed a 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton, with Jay Rodriguez hitting a late equaliser for the hosts.

The 33-year-old Defoe has now found the net in his last six Premier League away games, leading to calls for his first international action since 2013.

Asked if he expects Defoe to be named in Allardyce's first England squad, Moyes replied: "I wouldn't be surprised at all.

"Jermain Defoe's a goalscorer. And he's got that ability to score out of very little. Sam (Allardyce) knows him better than me, he's worked longer with him than me.

"What I've seen of him so far he's a really good pro, that's what I like about him. He wants to do things right and be in a good condition.

"He's certainly not someone that's enjoying the latter days of his career, that's for sure."

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Allardyce kept Sunderland in the top flight last term thanks as much as anything else to Defoe's 18 goals in all competitions across the campaign.

The former Bolton boss' hard graft on Wearside has allowed him to succeed Roy Hodgson as England manager.

Moyes admitted he would love nothing more than Defoe to be called up for international action, even though that would obviously add extra burdens on the veteran forward.

"I'd love to have a Sunderland player in the England squad," said Moyes. "That would be the first start. We started at Everton like that.

"Hopefully you get someone in, and then I'd hope to get two players in the England squad, and then three and build it up so that we have a squad of top international players.

"If Jermain Defoe's the start and the lead, I'll be thrilled.

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"At our club we're trying to give ourselves every chance of being talked about and building the club up.

"If you get England players you get talked about more.

"We really need his goals, he took his penalty kick really well and earned it as well. We need him to score.

"He's a really good finisher, he's been carrying a bit of a thigh strain so we just need to check to see he's okay."

Stand-in goalkeeper Jordan Pickford's error gifted Rodriguez his first Premier League goal since March 2014, and the hosts a share of the spoils.

New Saints manager Claude Puel hailed Rodriguez for grabbing the equaliser, but admitted the 27-year-old could still head out on loan next week.

Saints are expected to complete the big-money capture of Lille's Sofiane Boufal early next week, with Puel still in the market for two new signings.

Asked whether Rodriguez's goal could hand him extra first-team chances now at Southampton, Puel said: "We will see in the next few days.

"I am happy for Jay to score this afternoon".

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