Jermain Defoe: Sunderland star opens up on the strict regime that keeps him fit and his Euro 2016 heartbreak

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe
Have your say

Jermain Defoe has revealed the secrets of the strict regime behind the glorious Indian summer of his career.

Defoe returned to international football on Sunday after a four-year absence and took just 21 minutes to take his international goal tally to 20.

Defoe made a successful return to international duty

Defoe made a successful return to international duty

Team-mates have marvelled at his longevity, Adam Lallana saying it was like ‘playing with a 25-year-old’, Dele Alli labelling him a ‘legend’.

Defoe has put his continued success down to a strict regime and being open to any method of staying in shape.

He said: “I have a better understanding of my body now,

“Everyone wants to feel fresh in the game, there’s no better feeling. So I’m just making sure I’m doing the right things – cryotherapy, massage, eating the right things ... trying to turn vegan.

“That’s a funny one because when I go to my Mum’s she’s got every kind of meat you can imagine out on the table.

“It was my girlfriend’s idea. She said to me, ‘You’ve got to do it’ and she’s always showing me documentaries.

“It’s always nice to have someone around you to who helps you and drives you on and wants you to do well.”

Defoe has barely missed a game since arriving on Wearside in January 2015, proving to be a remarkably consistent presence and notching over 30 Premier League goals.

He is one of the top English scorers in the division and attributes his freshness to following a successful post-match recovery schedule. It is gruelling but Defoe has no qualms understaking it.

He said: “I don’t find anything hard because I know the feeling of scoring goals,

“So getting in an ice bath and all that isn’t nice, but I just think, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this and be rewarded’. It’s hard, but in another way it’s easy because all I want to do is play well and score goals.

“The key thing for me is recovery, giving yourself the best opportunity to perform in the next game, and I seem to have got that to a tee. There’s a lot of things I do away from training and away from matchday that help me perform, so I’ll just keep doing that.”

Defoe’s international recall laid to rest the disappointment of missing out on Euro 2016, the striker finding out on the television that he had not been included.

Gareth Southgate has insisted that he will be in contention to go to the World CUp in Russia next summer if he continues scoring in the top tier.

He said: “I didn’t get a call. I found out on the telly.

“It was heartbreaking. Only because in my heart I felt like I’d done enough to be involved.”

“My mum always said, ‘It’s not how you start it’s how you finish’, and years later I’m back in the squad and scoring goals for my country,” he said.

“I never give up. In my mind I was trying to be realistic and with the previous manager (Hodgson) I didn’t feel like I was getting an opportunity. There was times I was scoring goals, especially last season, and I wasn’t selected for the Euros. I felt like I finished the season strong, but I was realistic and felt like maybe I wasn’t going to get an opportunity.