Defoe has confirmed that he intends to keep playing after his Rangers departure, and has said that making a stunning return to Sunderland is 'an option'
The striker recently left Rangers in search of greater playing time before he weighs up his future in the summer.
The 39-year-old appeared on talkSPORT last week and confirmed that he has a 'few options' on the table, and feels that he is still fit enough to make a significant impact.
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Defoe confirmed that one of those options was Sunderland, where he retains a legendary status following his first stint at the club and head coach Lee Johnson has stated his desire to work with him.
Phillips said to Football Insider: “If they get him as a player/coach, yes.
“If they’re signing him with a view to just being a player, I’m not sure. I’m not a big advocate of players going back to clubs where they did well because it will never be the same.
“It could be a good move but I think Sunderland have been down that route before and it’s failed. I prefer them going for younger players.
“If they got Defoe in as a player/coach, on the grounds he’d be doing more coaching than playing, I think it’d be a good move. But Defoe has made it clear that he wants to play.
“I can’t see him starting ahead of Ross Stewart, that’s for sure. It would be a coup for the club to get him in but I’d have reservations if it’s just as a player.”