Jermain Defoe can be the difference between Sunderland staying up or being relegated from the Premier League, according to Jermaine Jenas.
Former England star Jenas, who played with the striker at Spurs, believes Defoe’s goals could keep the Black Cats in the top flight.
Defoe struck his 12th league goal of the campaign in the Tyne-Wear derby to earn his side a share of the spoils.
And ex-Newcastle ace Jenas rates him so highly that he would put him only second to Alan Shearer in terms of forwards he’s played with.
“Sunderland have a striker in Jermain Defoe who is guaranteed to get you goals,” said Jenas.
“I played alongside Defoe for many years, for club and country, and he’s one of the best strikers I’ve played with.
“Alan Shearer would be my No 1, but in terms of out-and-out finishing Defoe is next on my list. He’s absolutely relentless, deadly.
“Sam Allardyce actually messed him about a bit when he first took over at the Stadium of Light, playing him out wide, and there was even talk that he might leave. But it’s no surprise that as soon as Big Sam started playing him up front, the goals began to flow. They always will with Defoe.
“For a club like Sunderland, that kind of player is the difference between staying up and going down.”
Defoe is on around £60,000 a week, but Jenas insists with the TV riches on offer for staying in the Premier League, it will be a drop in the ocean if he keeps the Black Cats up.
He added: “Whatever kind of contract he is on, it could be the best money Sunderland have ever spent.”