Defoe: Right time to leave Tottenham

Departing Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe has explained the reasons for his move to MLS side Toronto, ESPN has reported, with Defoe revealing he simply feels it is time to move on.

Defoe has agreed the move to North America, which will take effect at the end of February, and despite still being part of the set-up at White Hart Lane – scoring on Saturday against Crystal Palace – he feels it is the right moment to leave the Premier League.

“I was [at Tottenham] nine years so you can imagine what it’s like. I think everyone knows how I feel about Tottenham,” he said. “I have had a special relationship with the fans over the years but it’s football and players move on. At the age of 31 it is a great opportunity for me and my family.”

Defoe has a year left on his Spurs contract and revealed that the offer of a lengthy deal from Toronto – and the desire for a change of scenery after a hard few years on a personal level – were also factors.

“I’ve been through some things with my family over the last few years and sometimes it is nice to have a change,” Defoe added. “I only had a year left on my contract at Tottenham. If you have a year left and someone comes in and offers you four, you have to think about it and consider your options. It’s as simple as that.”

Defoe has also not given up on playing for England at the World Cup, despite his move away from top level football. “Hopefully the manager knows what I can do,” Defoe said. “I am 31 and I have played in the Premier League my whole career.

“There’s not much more I need to prove but it’s down to the manager, he picks the squad. If I get picked to play for my country, I will be ready.”

Defoe made his senior bow at West Ham, joining Tottenham for the first time after the Hammers were relegated. The forward later moved to Portsmouth, returning to Spurs to re-join Harry Redknapp, who had taken him to Pompey.

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