Sunderland striker opens up about interest in him and his plans for the future

Jermain Defoe admits there has been a lot of interest in him this summer and revealed he has a strong idea where he will be playing his football next season.

Saturday, 3rd June 2017, 4:43 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:03 pm
Jermain Defoe

The 34-year-old striker scored 15 Premier League goals for relegated Sunderland this season, but he will leave on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract.

It is understood Bournemouth are set to land his signature on a three-year deal though Defoe is yet to confirm his next destination.

For now, he insists his immediate focus on international football with England.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Defoe has been called up by Gareth Southgate and he is hoping to be involved when England face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park on June 10 before facing France in a friendly on June 13.

He has a firm idea of where he will head next, though, when he does depart Wearside.

Defoe was speaking to the Daily Telegraph at his Jermain Defoe Foundation football tournament in Romford."When you’re scoring goals, let’s be honest, clubs are going to want you. I’ve had a lot of interest," said Defoe.

"But I’ve got an idea where I’m going. When it comes to July everyone will know. I know where I want to go to kick on again. I don’t want to stand still."

Hinting at his next destination, Defoe added: "Partly it’s how he wants to play, but mainly it’s: 'Is he comfortable trying to improve me?'

"Some managers just let senior players get on with it. I don’t want that. I want to be challenged."

Defoe was Sunderland's top scorer last season, his 15 Premier League goals not enough to keep the club up.

He relished his role as Sunderland's main man, though, adding he thrived on the pressure of leading the Black Cats attack.

"Actually, being in a side at the bottom makes you sharper.

"I know in a game I might not get anything more than a half chance, so I’d better make the most of it. You’ve got to be ruthless.

"Sometimes people say to me, why did you go there at that moment just as the ball was coming and I go: I don’t know, I just did it.

"It’s instinctive. I’ve practised so much over the years, I’ve rehearsed it so many times, it’s natural.

"That said, it’s like any sport: the more you practise, the more natural you are."

Defoe says he has become more interested in the coaching aspect and approach of different managers as he has got older.

He added: "I’m like a sponge, I think about stuff. I think: if I was a manager how would I play this?

"I think of the bosses I’ve had, I like what he does, I’ll do it like him or I definitely won’t do it like that.

"I’m thinking like that more and more. I’m in my car on the way to the ground, thinking, I wonder what team the manager’s going to pick, this is what I’d pick.

"I suppose I’m heading in the direction of being a coach."

He has no desire to hang up his goalscoring boots anytime soon, though.

Defoe, who scored on his return to the international fold in March against Lithuania at Wembley, said: "I want to be in Russia [for the 2018 World Cup], 100 per cent.

"If I continue scoring goals, then I believe the manager will take me. But obviously I’ve got to keep scoring."