David Moyes on why Sunderland ace Jermain Defoe has been so good for so long

David Moyes has backed Sunderland hotshot Jermain Defoe to keep hitting the goal trail for years to come.

Saturday, 26th November 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:31 am
Jermain Defoe

The 34-year-old scored his 150th Premier League goal in the 3-0 win over Hull City.

And Moyes believes Defoe’s goalscoring record is testament to his ability and fitness record.

Defoe may be edging towards veteran stage on paper but he remains as fit as a fiddle and bang in form for Sunderland, his landmark strike against the Tigers was his seventh in 13 games this season.

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Moyes has heaped praise on his number one striker, who has struck up an instant partnership with Victor Anichebe to help lift Sunderland to within three points of safety.

“It is testament to him,” said Moyes, when reflecting on Defoe’s latest personal milestone.

“I think when you are lean and you keep a grip on your weight and general sharpness and match fitness then it all helps.

“I’m sure he has slowed down in some aspects of his game compared to when he was 24 or 25 but he is still scoring and getting in the right positions and willing to do the work and the running.

“I can see Jermain playing for a long time, he is the type to keep his career going because of his physical condition.

“He doesn’t carry any weight, he is not a drinker.

“When you are not carrying weight or drinking it is much easier to keep your levels up.

“It speaks for itself what Jermain has done for us and throughout his career with his goals.”

Sunderland face title-chasing Liverpool at Anfield this afternoon, with the second-bottom Black Cats looking to build on back-to-back victories.

The form of Defoe, who signed a 12-month contract extension in the summer to take him through to his 36th birthday, and Anichebe is the key factor behind the recent upturn.

And Moyes has been impressed with their blossoming partnership.

“When I brought Victor in I saw him more as a support,” admitted Moyes.

“But you will have seen it, the centre forwards don’t always play alongside each other as we have had to make sure we have not been completely outnumbered in the middle of the pitch too.

“We have tried to keep two attackers on the pitch where we can. It might not work in all games.

“We don’t have an awful lot of other options at the moment.”

Sunderland will have to make changes for the trip to Merseyside, with centre-back Papy Djilobodji serving a one-game suspension and Paddy McNair ruled out after rupturing his cruciate ligament in the Hull win.

Steven Pienaar, back from a one-game suspension, is expected to come straight back into central midfield.

Moyes must also decide whether to bring skipper John O’Shea back into central defence or use pacy Jason Denayer in defence, rather than as a holding midfielder, against Jurgen Klopp’s in-form Liverpool side.