TONY GILLAN: Age is no barrier - Defoe should be with England

A strange body of opinion exists that certain players should be excluded from the current England squad because of their age.

Monday, 23rd May 2016, 9:00 am
Jermain Defoe

I am referring specifically to Jermain Defoe here, but it could be any footballer of a certain vintage.

In the 2015-16 Premier League, Defoe scored 15 goals in 32 appearances. This was at a struggling club and included only one penalty.

Kane and Vardy were the only Englishmen to score more.

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He has 268 career goals including 19 for his country.

Now, if anyone thinks that there are better alternatives, then fine. We all have our opinions. But the idea that older players should be shunned from the current squad because England “should be planning for the future” is of the sheerest flapdoodle.

Defoe shows little interest in bowls and Werther’s Originals and is as fit as the musical instrument or fellow professional of your choice. Thoughts of England’s future should not presently go beyond 48 days which is when, courtesy of a miracle, they would play in the Euros final.

The raison d’être for England is the two major international tournaments and one of them is about to begin. Worry about other tournaments in 49 days.

If England were more concerned with form than birth certificates, they could stand a better chance.

Defoe is 33 (and not 73 as you may be forgiven for thinking) and if he was called up would be unlikely to be required for more than 30 minutes at a time. We dare say he would cope.

A pity then that it simply won’t happen.