Jermain Defoe has made it clear to Roy Hodgson that he is ready and available for a late call-up to the England squad for Euro 2016, says Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce.
Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are the top-scoring Englishmen in the Premier League this season, yet Defoe is third on the list after Sunderland’s Player of the Year took his tally to 15 top flight goals with the winner in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Chelsea.
I think he’s made life extremely good for Roy in terms of an alternative if he feels it’s neededSam Allardyce
Defoe hasn’t appeared for his country in more than three-and-a-half years, but he has never given up hope of earning an international recall after netting 19 goals during his 54 caps.
With Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck now a major injury doubt for the summer’s European Championships, Defoe has been mooted as a possible option for Hodgson and Allardyce says the 33-year-old has alerted the England boss to his availability.
Allardyce said: “There’s many, many high-quality strikers that England have got to select from for the first time in a long time.
“Would Roy want another one? Would he want a big one or a Jermain Defoe?
“Jermain has said to Roy that if he needs him, he’s here. He’s proved that he can still do it with 18 goals in all competitions this year in a struggling team.
“I think he’s made life extremely good for Roy in terms of an alternative if he feels it’s needed.
“I’ve not spoken to him about this, but I think he would love the opportunity to do that.”
Defoe has netted 11 top flight goals in 2016 alone, with Sunderland putting an extra 14 points on the board this season thanks to the ex-Spurs man finding the back of the net.
The striker’s best form has come from Allardyce ignoring the theory that Defoe had to be used in a front two and having the faith to deploy him as the lone frontman in a 4-3-3 set-up.
“I was a little blocked in the beginning about this thought that he couldn’t play up front on his own,” admitted Allardyce.
“In the early stages it was who could I play him up front with?
“I said several times that I might have to leave someone out in midfield, but I couldn’t do that because we were conceding so many goals.
“Then we tried a back three to get Jermain up front. That looked like it would work alright for a while, but then it crumbled at Chelsea and at home here against Watford, where we had to change it pretty quickly.
“In the end, it was just about giving him a go on his own and see where he went.
“But realistically, he doesn’t play on his own because we play 4-3-3 in possession. He’s never really played on his own, it’s just that everyone is so awash with 4-4-2 in this country.
“I’ve had no problems with Jermain being there and perhaps it’s a good thing because no-one can call me long ball anymore!
“We can’t play long ball with 5ft 9in Jermain Defoe up there!”