RICHEST AFRICANS

Mohamed Mansour

0out of 5

Miloud Chaabi

0out of 5

Mohammed Indimi

0out of 5

Yasseen Mansour

0out of 5

Markus Jooste

0out of 5

England striker Defoe sets sights on Euro 2020 spot

by 07/10/2017 19:21:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Defoe part of the England squad for Sunday's World Cup qualifier in Lithuania
  • Bournemouth striker believes he could still be playing for England at Euro 2020 
  • He believes his longevity is down to the sacrifices he has made since growing up 

By Chris Wheeler for The Mail on Sunday

Published: 17:32 EDT, 7 October 2017 | Updated: 19:21 EDT, 7 October 2017

Turning 35-years-old on the eve of England’s concluding Group F qualifier in Lithuania might have convinced Jermain Defoe to accept that next summer’s World Cup finals will be his last shot at a major tournament.

Defoe thinks differently. It is not out of the question, he believes, to still be playing for his country when Euro 2020 rolls around.

‘If I feel the same at 37, why not?’ says the Bournemouth striker.

Jermain Defoe believes he could still be playing for England when Euro 2020 rolls around
Jermain Defoe believes he could still be playing for England when Euro 2020 rolls around

Jermain Defoe believes he could still be playing for England when Euro 2020 rolls around

‘If we were looking at my stats at the age of 25 and they were the same, it wouldn't even be a question, would it?

‘But if you’re looking at it and I’m 35 on Saturday, all of a sudden someone is thinking “you shouldn't be playing for England”.

‘If I’m still running down the channels like I’m 25 then, for me, it doesn’t really matter.

‘It’s one thing to be retired by the manager and another to retire yourself.’

It’s quite a claim but Defoe has kept himself in supreme physical condition throughout a career as one of the Premier League’s sharpest marksmen.

He has taken very good care of his body and began working closely with renowned fitness coach Tiberius Darau in 2010 up to the Frenchman’s death in 2015.

Darau vowed to put five years on Defoe’s career. He may have been right.

Most of all, the player believes his longevity is down to the sacrifices he has made since growing up on a tough council estate in East London and the discipline drummed into him by his mother Sandra.

‘She always used to say to me: “If you want to be a professional footballer, like you’ve been telling me since you were two, then you have to do everything right”,’ recalls Defoe.

‘Because she was like that with me from day one, it’s just in there. That discipline. At the time, when I was young, I didn’t really appreciate it.

Defoe refuses to accept that 2018 World Cup finals will be his last shot at a major tournament
Defoe refuses to accept that 2018 World Cup finals will be his last shot at a major tournament

Defoe refuses to accept that 2018 World Cup finals will be his last shot at a major tournament

‘I remember being in my bedroom window. We used to live on an estate and my mates used to be sitting there smoking and drinking, talking to girls and stuff like that. Of course, as a young lad you want to be involved in that.

‘But all the sacrifices over the years, you get to this level because of that. It’s the little, tiny things that can make a difference.

‘I’ve ticked every box in terms of what I can do to get myself fitter every season and what I can do away from the pitch.

‘After games my recovery is important. I do the ice baths and the cryotherapy. I do massage. I understand my body a lot more than I did years ago.

‘My nutrition: what can I change so I’m not getting tired towards the end of games?

‘I try to be vegan but I love fish. It’s a difficult one. Everyone knows I don't drink alcohol. That’s probably why I'm still playing, to be honest.

‘It’s clean living. You eat the right things. Sometimes I’m tough on myself. I go to a restaurant and think “that chocolate brownie looks nice on the menu!” And I’m like “do you know what? Nah!” That sacrifice again.’

Surely Defoe has one vice?

‘Do you know what I love? Bubble gum!’ he says. ‘When I was at Sunderland, there was this sweet shop and as soon as I walked in, they’d go in the back and get a box.

The 35-year-old has maintained a healthy mind as well as his body to prolong his career
The 35-year-old has maintained a healthy mind as well as his body to prolong his career

The 35-year-old has maintained a healthy mind as well as his body to prolong his career

‘I still get them delivered to my house, but apart from that I try my best to stay disciplined.’

Defoe has maintained a healthy mind as well as his body. It has helped guide him through his fair share of World Cup disappointment.

In 2006, he was put on the standby list after Sven Goran Eriksson made Theo Walcott a shock inclusion, and was then sent home from Germany when Wayne Rooney recovered from injury.

Defoe scored the winner against Slovenia in South Africa four years later, before England controversially crashed out to the Germans, but he was omitted by Roy Hodgson in Brazil in 2014 – a moment he described as the lowest in his career.

‘When you get disappointments you just have to deal with it,’ he says. ‘You’ve just got to come back stronger.’

Defoe spent three-and-a-half years in the international wilderness before making a goalscoring return against Lithuania at Wembley in March, and he is set to face the same team in Vilnius still enthused by the thought of playing for his country.

‘Being realistic, I didn’t think I was going to get back in because I was playing well and scoring goals but it just wasn’t happening,’ he admits.

‘When you’re in your 20s, you don’t think that at 35 you’ll still be in the England squad and hopefully getting to a World Cup.

‘But I've never turned my back on England. I know how important it is to play for my country and I've always believed I can score goals at this level.’ 

No tags for this article
View More Posts

Movies

News from all over the world

THE DETECTIVE

4.2 out of 5 Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Read More

Pride Of A Housegirl

4.2 out of 5 Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Read More

Wet Love

4.2 out of 5 Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Read More

The Powerful Virgin

4.2 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Read More

BEAUTIFUL BRIDE

4.2 out of 5 Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Read More

BARREN MARRIAGE

4.2 out of 5 Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Read More