Sunderland AFC news: Defoe snub explained, Cats chase Leeds United and Aston Villa pair
England boss Roy Hodgson has explained his decision to snub Sunderland top scorer Jermain Defoe.
Defoe scored 18 goals for the Black Cats - including 15 in the Premier League - but he failed to make the preliminary squad for Euro 2016.
England play Australia at the Stadium of Light tonight (7.45pm kick-off) and Hodgson has told the Echo the reasons behind Defoe's exclusions.
"Jermain Defoe, after the World Cup where he wasn’t selected, went to America,” Hodgson said.
"In these last two years, we’ve been working towards this tournament.
"Jermain, like many other players, has had a very good end to the season, and there’s no reason why a player of his ability shouldn’t be selected in an England squad.
"I’m not saying for one minute that he doesn’t have the ability, if I needed him, to play for England.
"But there are other players, and these are the players we have been working on.
"We have put our eggs into their basket. I saw no reason why I should break one of those eggs and take a fresh egg into the basket, especially as we’re talking about a player who’s well over 30 years of age and has a certain style of play.
"We’re really looking forwards to the people who are more akin to (Jamie) Vardy and (Wayne) Rooney himself and Sturridge (and) Rashford."That’s what we’re looking for, rather than the player who’s very good in the penalty box as a finisher."Meanwhile, Sunderland are said to be battling it out with West Bromwich Albion for the signing of Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark.
The defender has a £5million release clause following the club's relegation and The Telegraph claim Sunderland have joined the race for his signature.
The Republic of Ireland international was part of a Villa side that won only three games all season.
And finally, Leeds United wideman Charlie Taylor is being tracked by several clubs, including Sunderland.
The 22-year-old is a product of the Leeds youth academy and has broken into the Elland Road first team, playing 43 games last season.
The former England Under-19 international can play as a left winger or left-back, an area Sam Allardyce is keen to strengthen.