Manager Slaven Bilic has warned West Ham to beware a “better than ever” Jermain Defoe.
Sunderland may be enduring another wretched start to the season, without a win in their opening eight games to lie bottom of the table, but Defoe is still enjoying a remarkable renaissance.
The former West Ham and Tottenham striker appeared to be winding down his career when he moved to the MLS to join Toronto two years ago.
But having returned to the Premier League with the Black Cats, the 34-year-old scored the goals to help keep them up last season and already has four to his name for David Moyes’ men this term.
Ahead of Sunderland’s first ever visit to the London Stadium this afternoon, Hammers boss Bilic said: “He has come back from America maybe better than before, which is amazing.
“I spoke with Niko Kranjcar, my midfield player for Croatia, who played with Jermain at Portsmouth and Spurs.
“As a number 10, he played with some good strikers and he told me that by far the best movement of a striker was from Jermain Defoe.
“You can see that when you’re watching the game, when you’re analysing the opponent, the freshness is there.
“It’s still there.
“You talk about his finishing, it’s absurd.
“He’s got it, a clinical finish, so he’s still a great player.”