Tottenham have received a welcome boost with the news that Jermain Defoe’s ankle injury is not as bad as first feared. Having missed more than two months of the season with ankle ligament damage (sustained on international duty), the diagnosis is “soft tissue irritation”. Defoe is expected to return to training when the Spurs squad returns from their warm-weather training camp in Dubai. Spurs are currently without Tom Huddlestone, Younes Kaboul, Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart.
With Spurs enjoying a season to remember, Defoe’s season has been one to forget thus far. Having netted eighteen times in the league last season, the diminutive striker has yet to find the net in the league this season. Since scoring at the World Cup against Slovenia and again in a Champions League Qualifier against Young Boys, his only goals since returning from injury have come in braces; in a Champions League tie in Twente, and against his former club Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup third round. He also received a straight red card against Aston Villa in December, although Spurs held on to secure the win despite playing with ten men for over an hour. With Defoe’s input largely absent from Tottenham’s achievements so far this season, it would be a massive bonus if he can find form during the run in.
Having signed Defoe for West Ham, Portsmouth and Spurs, Harry Redknapp is clearly a fan: “I
Redknapp went on further to suggest that Defoe can still improve: “I think he can actually score more goals than he does. He should get 20-plus every year. Last year he had an unbelievable spell and then dried up. I told Jermain last year ‘It’s wrong if you don’t get 20 goals each and every season’. I also tipped him to be leading scorer in the Premier League. I told him it was about time he did it. I still think there’s part of his game he can improve. Jermain’s goalscoring is fantastic and his movement too. But to be the complete frontman, his hold-up play can be better.”
Defoe has a very respectable goal-scoring record playing for England, scoring 15 goals in 45 appearances, although he does have the unenviable record of having been substituted in each of his seventeen starts. That stat probably represents his career in a nutshell; the talent is undoubtedly there, but perhaps the effort or consistency is a little lacking at times. 14 of Defoe’s 24 goals in all competitions last season came in three hat-tricks, and five in a demolition of Wigan. Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping he can break his duck as soon as possible and enter another of his goal-scoring runs to fire them to glory in the final few weeks – ankle permitting of course.