Defoe strengthens Euros case

Thursday, 12 May, 2016

To say it was only a couple of years ago Jermain Defoe took the apparent decision to give up on his England dreams by making the move to the MLS, the striker's crucial run of goals over the past few months has breathed fresh life into the 33-year old's international hopes. With the European Championship edging ever closer, Roy Hodgson could well have seen enough to be convinced that including Defoe in his 23-man squad might not be a bad idea at all. Scoring 19 goals for England over the course of 55 caps to date, the Sunderland forward has proven himself on the highest level in the past and, on the evidence of this season, he is clearly not ready to hang up his boots.

Having made his return to the Premier League last year, Defoe has shown he is still one of the best finishers in Europe, and possibly a man worth taking to France in the summer. The veteran's goal for the Black Cats in their crucial victory over Chelsea was his 15th in the league this season. That is the third highest total from an Englishman this campaign and puts him behind only Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane. With Hodgson expected to name four strikers in his squad for the Euros, Defoe has to be in the hat. 

It's the amount and the importance of the goals the former Tottenham frontman has scored that has been impressive in the context of Sunderland's miraculous escape from relegation. From the club's 40 Premier League goals this season, Defoe has been responsible for 15 of them, earning 14 of their 35 points and all but single-handily helping drag Sunderland from the bottom three. He might not be as young as he once was, but he has looked as sharp and clinical as ever. 

13795575 by world_pictures77, on Flickr
13795575 " ( CC BY 2.0 ) by    world_pictures77  

With England currently priced at around 8/1 to win the tournament for the first time, head coach Roy Hodgson knows he will need strikers heading into the summer in promising form. Aside from Vardy and Kane, there isn't another English striker who can claim to be in as prolific a touch as Defoe, including England captain Wayne Rooney. For those looking to place a bet at this summer's tournament, when this article was produced, hosts France were priced at 13/4 to lift the trophy for the third time. And if you do decide to place a bet, you could also visit the mobile casino games that many providers offer alongside their sportsbooks to spend some time in between the matches at the finals.

While the other three forwards discussed above have all scored 15-plus goals in the league this season, Rooney has failed to make it past seven at the time of writing. Despite his average form in front of goal this season, it's hard to see how Hodgson would leave out the man who led the team through a flawless qualification campaign. With Rooney, Kane and Vardy all seemingly certain to make the 23-man squad, that does leave room for a player like Defoe. The striker is someone who is more than capable of stepping off the bench late in a game and scoring the goal that wins England the game.