Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe happy to still be scoring, despite new position

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe

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Hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe is glad to be staying among the goals, despite being asked to operate in an unfamiliar wide role.

Defoe’s treble in last night’s dramatic Capital One Cup victory against Exeter City took his goal tally for the season to five, as well as helping Sunderland secure a third round tie against Manchester City.

When we haven’t got the ball, I’m on the wing, but when we’ve got it, I play like a forward.

After Sunderland’s opening day humbling at Leicester, Advocaat has resolved not to use Defoe as the central striker in his favoured 4-3-3 formation, with the 32-year-old deployed in one of the two wide roles.

But while Defoe ideally wants to play in a central striker role, he remains a goal threat.

Defoe told the Echo: “When we haven’t got the ball, I’m on the wing, but when we’ve got it, I play like a forward.

“Naturally, I go inside and make runs, and that’s when you get the chances.

“I always believe that if I get the chances, I’ll score.

“It’s the first time I’ve played there in my whole career, but I’d rather be on the pitch than on the bench.

“I want to play and I’m still scoring goals.

“During the game, I always think about my movement and when’s the right time to make a run and get chances.”

Defoe has certainly been one of Sunderland’s sharpest players so far this season, and believes he has reaped the benefits of a full pre-season.

He added: “I feel sharp now. When I first came to the club in January, it was a difficult time for me because I only had an operation in November.

“I knew it was going to take time to get my power back, and get my sharpness back because I didn’t play for four months.

“But now, I feel like I’m able to do everything I want to in the game - my movement, energy and taking my chances.”