• Premier League

Defoe: Toronto move a 'great opportunity'

ESPN staff
January 12, 2014
Jermain Defoe has spent nine years at Tottenham © Getty Images

Departing Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe insists that it is the right time to leave London and join MLS side Toronto FC.

Defoe, 31, has scored 143 goals in two spells at White Hart Lane but decided to leave the club for a new challenge after falling behind Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor in the pecking order.

"I was there nine years so you can imagine what it's like. I think everyone knows how I feel about Tottenham," Defoe told Sky Sports News. "I have had a special relationship with the fans over the years but it's football and players move on. At the age of 31 it is a great opportunity for me and my family."

With only one year left on his contract and having suffered a series of personal traumas in recent years, Defoe revealed his family played a big part in the decision to move.

"I've been through some things with my family over the last few years and sometimes it is nice to have a change," Defoe added. "I only had a year left on my contract at Tottenham. If you have a year left and someone comes in and offers you four, you have to think about it and consider your options. It's as simple as that."

Earlier on Sunday, Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood claimed that Defoe should be on the plane to Brazil this summer with a place in England's World Cup squad.

"Hopefully the manager knows what I can do. I am 31 and I have played in the Premiership my whole career," Defoe added. "There's not much more I need to prove but it's down to the manager, he picks the squad. If I get picked to play for my country, I will be ready."

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