GUS POYET admits Jermain Defoe is undroppable at present after the striker’s second Sunderland goal at Swansea.
Defoe produced an outstanding individual strike in today’s 1-1 draw at Swansea City, as Sunderland recorded their 12th Premier League draw of the campaign.
The 32-year-old has started each of Sunderland’s five games since arriving from MLS side Toronto FC after three months without a competitive outing.
Head coach Poyet had hoped to hand Defoe a breather after that hectic start, but admits he cannot leave him out following the dramatic difference he has made to Sunderland’s goal threat.
Poyet said: “Without any doubt, we are a different team with Jermain.
“When you have a player that you know will score sooner or later, it makes the rest of the team believe that you have a chance to win football games.
“It’s a pleasure to have him.
“I’ve been killing myself trying to think if I need to give him a rest after being out for four months.
“I can’t. Sorry J, he has to play.
“We have to make sure we don’t take a risk, but at the same time use him.
“You cannot let games go past without playing Jermain Defoe.
“I’m pleased that we’re using him and he’s scoring.
“That means the decision was good for everybody.
“You need to be careful. There are players who can go all the season playing, like John O’Shea every game 90 minutes, and he looks as fit as ever.
“There are others that every now and then need a rest, sometimes in the cup, depending on circumstances.
“But right now, we need him so he’s going to play.”
Poyet believes that if Defoe continues to find the back of the net, then it will fulfil the frontman’s ambition to return to the England squad.
“When you pick the strikers for the national team , you pick the ones in form and scoring goals,” said Poyet.
“We saw Harry Kane today, he’s an obvious choice.
“And if Jermain keeps scoring goals and (Wayne) Rooney is playing in midfield, maybe he has a chance!
“I respect the manager of the national team. The only thing the players can do is perform and show they want to be in.
“That’s good for the country.”
Former Sunderland loanee Ki Sung-Yueng cancelled out Defoe’s goal in the second half at the Liberty Stadium after taking advantage of some slack marking to head home.
Poyet didn’t go as far as saying he was happy with a point - given Sunderland’s revival over the past eight days - but he wasn’t too disheartened.
He added: “I need to be realistic. (Costel) Pantilimon made a couple of very good saves.
“We had a very good first half. I was very pleased with the way we played and passed the ball.
“You have to give credit to Swansea as well.
“It was quite a fair result.
“A few weeks ago, I would say 1-1 away at Swansea was a good point.
“Now we are in a good moment, so we need to make sure this point is very good by beating QPR on Tuesday.”