Last year in this column I spoke about the need for Gareth Southgate to pick players in form like Sunderland striker Jermaine Defoe as I believe form should be the yardstick for choosing any team or squad and not age.
There was quite a bit of criticism from many quarters citing his age as a problem and that the England Head Coach should pick younger players with potential for the future and I understand why they would say that however for me it’s always about picking the best balanced team and not the best players.
To be honest I am sick of England always picking players for the future when it’s important to have a team that can compete in tournaments now. Goal scorers’ rather than strikers are the key to winning any game but those who can nick a goal at the highest level can be the difference between competing in or going home early from competitions. Like a lot of great goal scorers’ Defoe can be out of the game for long spells but instinctively is always “Johnny on the on the spot” to put away the one chance he may get. You cannot coach that into players-that is a God given gift.
I heard Gareth Southgate after the game saying that Defoe is worth his place in the squad as long as he is playing in the Premier League? With Sunderland looking certain to get relegated I am sure his agent is already looking for another Premier League club! Would he be a Tony Pulis type of player I wonder?
True he is not a long term England solution but is he worth his place in the squad? You bet he is with his ability to score crucial game-changing goals!