Sunderland’s star striker: ‘a player I always hoped Liverpool would sign’

... just that little bit extra
… just that little bit extra

Is there a team in the land in which Jermain Defoe would not score goals? Probably not. Is our extraordinary little striker just not fashionable – or young – enough a footballer to appeal to the Peps, Joses and Antonios and the brands they manage? Maybe. We’re just lucky we have him. And Monsieur Salut’s daughter, Nathalie Randall, who has an irrational love  of Liverpool, relegating Sunderland to second place in her affections, wishes he earned his living at Anfield …

I’ve always been a big fan of Jermain Defoe. My dad thinks its only because I fancy him but he’s too short for me..

He was one of those players, though, that I always hoped Liverpool would buy, or England would pick for a major tournament because I felt with him in the team, he would almost always score.

His game isn’t always pretty on the eye, his goals are not usually wonder strikes and tend to be toe pokes, scrambles, and clinical 10-yard finishes [tell that to those who saw his winner in the five-in-a-row game at home to Newcastle – Ed]. But he is that fox-in-the-box type who scores at every club he’s been to, and it is with his movement that he manages to create the space he does to score as many as he does.

I still think even now he can do a job for England from the bench if required. I heard an interesting stat on MOTD on Saturday night – he is the third top scorer in the Premier League in 2016, only behind Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane. That’s outstanding for a 34-year-old playing with a team that spent most of the year staring relegation in the face.

When he was at his peak, he was known as being a bit of a womaniser. He always seemed to be bedding, then cheating on the latest busty Big Brother contestant. However his life has been touched by a fair bit of tragedy.

Growing up, he had a dad, Jimmy, who was an alcoholic, and this may be part of the reason he is completely teetotal now (“I don’t drink or smoke and I’ve never touched drugs,” he told the Mirror in 2010). His mother brought him up on a council estate in Beckton, East London.

In April 2009, a year after the death of his grandmother, Defoe lost his half-brother, Jade, 26, who died after being struck with a single punch, his head hitting the pavement and causing significant brain damage, in an assault in east London.

Jermain Defoe's superstrike vs the Mags
Jermain Defoe’s superstrike vs the Mags: get the print from our friends at Art of Football

In June 2012, while Defoe was on England duty preparing for Euro 2012, he received news that his father had passed away from throat cancer. Just a month later, his cousin Hannah Defoe, aged just 20, was killed when she dived into a swimming pool in St Lucia and was somehow electrocuted.

 Two years on he found himself playing his football in Toronto. This decision seemed to have a major impact on his international career, with then England boss Roy Hodgson publicly implying that this choice showed he wasn’t all that bothered about his career.

Defoe didn’t have the most enjoyable of times in Toronto but despite this, he still scored 11 goals in 19 appearances. When Sunderland came calling in January 2015, it seemed Defoe needed them as much as Sunderland needed him, and he has been scoring goals for them ever since, arguably being the difference last season between relegation and staying up, and his goals this season have already given his team a fighting chance of staying up.

His dreams of an England recall are still alive, but it remains to be seen if new England manager Gareth Southgate will be brave enough to take a gamble on a man his age, bearing in mind Defoe will be approaching 36 by the time the next major tournament starts.

My dad won’t care too much about that; he just wants to see Defoe continue to bang in goals for Sunderland.

Nathalie is second from the left
Nathalie is second from the right
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