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Redknapp backs Defoe´s England claims

Harry Redknapp insists Jermain Defoe is in the right shape to perform for England in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers after his two-goal display fired Portsmouth to a 3-0 win at Everton.

Former Spurs hitman Defoe underlined his claims for a place in Fabio Capello's starting 11 with his impressive performance at Goodison Park on Saturday, which also saw Glen Johnson net for Pompey before keeper David James kept out a Yakubu penalty.

With England boss Capello still searching for the right formula up-front ahead of the September qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia, Pompey manager Redknapp claimed that Defoe has proven his worth.

Redknapp said: “I don't know what Capello will want to do because he has people like Wayne Rooney available as well, but I'd expect to see Jermain in the squad.

“He was really sharp. I've been waiting for him to come good, so it was nice to see him playing well and scoring a couple of goals.

“Both him and Crouchy are claiming the third goal, when Peter headed it in after it bounced down from the crossbar, but I think it was already over the line.

“Jermain was unbelievable when he arrived from Spurs last year and he was on fire, but he missed out on the FA Cup run because he was cup-tied. He is a fantastic little player, though. He can score goals and he has great ability and confidence, but those two goals will be good for him.

“All we need now is for Crouchy to get off the mark and then we can really go forward. Him and Defoe are a 'big un and little un,' so they should work really well as a partnership.”

Portsmouth's win ended a six-game Premier League losing streak and Redknapp admitted it was crucial for his team to get off the mark.

He said: “Our first two games have been so tough. We didn't play well at Chelsea, but they are so strong at home, and then we lost to Manchester United, so it was very important that we didn't go into the international break without a win.

“Against Chelsea, United and Everton last season, we picked up just one point from the same fixtures, so we are already better off than we were last year.”

Everton's defeat, their second at home this season, highlighted their threadbare squad. Manager David Moyes has yet to spend on new players this season, despite adding four new faces in midweek, including the Manchester United striker Louis Saha.

And with the transfer window closing on Monday, Moyes admits that he needs new blood quickly to arrest Everton's slump.

Moyes said: “Saha won't be finalised until Monday now, but I am going to try to get some more players in. We are lacking quality at the moment and we need more players because we aren't ready to win Premier League games at the moment.

“We have Phil Jagielka, a centre-back, playing in midfield and Jack Rodwell who is just 17. James Vaughan is playing up front for us, but he still needs about a month of games in the reserves.

“Those aren't necessarily the ones that are letting us down, though. There are some big players in the team who are not performing as well as they should be.

“It was poor defending on our part today — very basic errors. You always expect Peter Crouch to win his flick-ons, but what I can't take is five players standing around Jermain Defoe when he scores.”

Sun 31 August, 2008
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