Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has caused a stir by expressing his desire to play more football.
The striker has been in reasonable form since his move from Toronto FC in January, but he was left on the bench for Sam Allardyce’s debut as Sunderland manager against West Brom.
Defoe told the Express : “I can understand the manager coming in and saying he’s not too sure if he wants to play 4-4-2.
“He might want to be more solid in midfield so you don’t concede goals, so we’ll just see what happens.
“But at the age of 33, you want to play football. I didn’t come here to sit on the bench. You want to play football and score goals. I said that from day one.”
Defoe came through the ranks at West Ham , scoring 41 goals in 105 matches from 2000 to 2004, before a big-money move to Tottenham which saw Bobby Zamora move the other way.
West Ham are thin on the ground with strikers – only Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are seen as established senior centre forwards – and there are suggestions that the Hammers, along with another of Defoe’s former clubs Bournemouth, may make a move.
But the former England striker insists he isn’t after a transfer, but an offer of playing time could change things.
He said: “I don’t think like that, I don’t sit there and think, ‘Well, come January I’m going to go’.
“I’ve just got to focus on the games, stay positive and, if I play then, I’ve got to do my best, work hard and hopefully score.
“The manager knows. I’m 33, I want to play games. If you speak to any of the boys, everyone wants to play.
“Yeah, the manager picks the team – you’ve got to respect that - but at the same time, it doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it.”
One thing is for sure: the boy's still got it...