Jermain Defoe explains Sunderland manager dream and delivers verdict on Tony Mowbray's exciting side

Former striker Jermain Defoe says it would be a dream to manage Sunderland one day and has praised the team’s performances this season.
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The 40-year-old frontman took up an academy coaching role at Tottenham last August, after retiring as a player, and has started a BBC podcast about the next steps of his career.

Defoe was also a guest on BBC Newcastle’s Total Sport to discuss his playing career, coaching ambitions and Outside The Box Podcast - which includes a special episode about Bradley Lowery.

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When asked about potentially managing one of his former clubs like Sunderland, Defoe replied: “It would be a dream to manage a club like Sunderland.

Jermain Defoe warming up for Sunderland.Jermain Defoe warming up for Sunderland.
Jermain Defoe warming up for Sunderland.

“It’s quite funny because I remember little things, little things mean a lot to me.

“Obviously I remember all the games, all the players I played with, the managers, some of the great moments like when we beat Chelsea 3-2 at home, the goal that I scored against Newcastle, when we beat Man United.

“I remember all the big moments but I remember little things that mean a lot to me.

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“For instance when I got man of the match in one game I went upstairs to sign some autographs and there was an elderly lady and she sort of grabbed my face and kissed me.

“I’m a London boy, I’m from the East End, have come up to the North East. To get that sort of love from the people up there for me it was just crazy.

“I understand that if you do well and score goals they love you, like Kevin Phillips and all them legends that played for the club, but at the same time when you are getting that sort of love where someone shows you that sort of love that means a lot to me.”

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Defoe says he’s also kept a close eye on Sunderland following the club’s promotion to the Championship last year.

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“The Stadium is rocking again,” he added. “I still have friends that will send me pictures of being at the game, the atmosphere, send me pictures of the flags that they still hold. It’s amazing to see the boys do so well.

“I watched the game against Hull on the tele and it’s amazing. They have some exciting players now, some really exciting players, a good manager, an experienced manager.

“I’ve always said it, you see when you’re at Sunderland, you’re playing well and the stadium is rocking, there are not many better places to play football.

“I remember speaking to Darren Bent years ago and I always remember my times at Tottenham playing against Sunderland, I always enjoyed the game because it’s a proper stadium.

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“If you’re a footballer, you want to play in big stadiums where the atmosphere is electric. Then when I got a chance to sign for Sunderland when Gus Poyet signed me, I was like yeah 100% because I have always enjoyed playing in this stadium anyway and I had a great time there.

“It’s nice to see the boys do well and it’s good. I definitely watch all the games.”