• Major League Soccer

Defoe refuses to give up on World Cup dream

ESPN staff
March 22, 2014
Jermain Defoe catches up with former team-mate Shaka Hislop, now an ESPN FC pundit

Jermain Defoe has admitted he hopes his move to Major League Soccer with Toronto FC can provide a route into England's World Cup squad.

Defoe left Tottenham and the Premier League to play under former Spurs defender Ryan Nelsen at the Canadian franchise and marked his debut with two goals against the Seattle Sounders.

With 55 international caps already to his name, Defoe is hopeful his performances at Toronto FC can earn him a place in Roy Hodgson's England selection.

Defoe has scored 19 goals for England, including the winner against this summer's World Cup opponents Italy © Getty Images

"[United States midfielder] Michael Bradley took the same decision," he told the Daily Mail. "He was at Roma but he wasn't playing much and he wants to play.

"At the end of the day you need to be playing regularly and playing well to get into a World Cup squad. You can't be at a club where you're not playing.

"Playing for a big club like Tottenham for all those years - nine in total - is something I'm proud of but in life opportunities come along that you sometimes have to seize. This is a fresh start for me."

Defoe had fallen out of favour at Tottenham despite a good Europa League record, with successive managers Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood preferring Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor in the Premier League.

"I think I scored something like nine goals in nine [European] games but I still wasn't getting the opportunity to play in the league," he said.

"There was nothing I could do about it, it's up to the manager if he doesn't want to pick me in the league, but I did spend quite a lot of time on the bench.

"Last season I scored a hat trick in Europe and then AVB wanted to play Adebayor up front on his own against Manchester City. It was frustrating but it's partly because football has become all about the squad. I guess years ago you wouldn't leave out a forward who's scoring goals."

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