Jermain Defoe has told Tottenham that he must play regularly or risk jeopardising his chances of featuring at Euro 2012 with England.
The striker scored on Thursday in a 4-0 Europa League win against Shamrock Rovers but has found his Premier League chances limited at White Hart Lane, with manager Harry Redknapp preferring Emmanuel Adebayor to the former Portsmouth man.
“I’m 29, I need to play football. It’s as simple as that. There’s a tournament in the summer,” Defoe said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in one tournament for my country. I want to play in one again as I know if I play in a tournament I’ll do well.”
“I am working hard in the gym. I did a lot of work in the summer to get to this position and I’m not going to waste it by sitting on the bench when I know I should play.”
“If I was about 21 I could sit on my hands. But I’m 29 and want to play football now every week.”
“It’s hard to explain the feeling when you’re starting games, scoring, the team is winning and you’re not playing in the next game. There’s nothing more you can do as a footballer.”
Defoe has started just six games this season but has returned six league goals, while also finding the back of the net three times in Spurs’ Europa League campaign – a fact Defoe hopes Redknapp takes into consideration with his team selection for Sunday’s visit of Sunderland.
“If you’re playing well and scoring and, the most important thing, the team is winning, and you are not being picked again, it’s difficult. What else am I supposed to do?” he added.
“It’s well documented that I’ve been in the team, scored goals and then been taken out of the team. For whatever reason, I don’t know.”
“It’s important that when you get a chance, you take it like I have always done.”
“Like I’ve done this season, I took my chance two games running by scoring goals. That’s it. That’s all I can do.”
“It’s out of my hands. What can I say? I can just do what I’ve got to do and make sure when I play, I play well. That’s it really.”