Football Football

Spurs Cup hero Defoe eyes England recall


LONDON, England, March 8- Jermain Defoe set his sights on a return to the England squad after his two goals in a 3-1 fifth round replay win over third tier Stevenage helped Tottenham Hotspur into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The striker, not included for the recent friendly international against the Netherlands, looked sharp at White Hart Lane here on Wednesday.

Now he is determined to win his place back ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine — when Spurs boss Harry Redknapp could be in charge if the Football Association bow to public demand for the veteran manager to become the full-time England successsor to Italian coach Fabio Capello

The 29-year-old Defoe has been in and out of the Spurs team this season but now has 15 goals after his double against League One Stevenage.

“It’s at the back of my mind, that’s only normal with a tournament in the summer,” said Defoe of the European Championships. “If I keep doing what I’m doing for Tottenham then we’ll see what happens.

“Everyone wants to get a run in the team. But it’s difficult, we have a big squad. The manager knows that when called upon I’ll be ready.

“Like I said before, all I can do when I get the chance is do what I do best and score goals.”

Stevenage stunned the White Hart Lane faithful by taking a fourth minute lead when Joel Byrom scored a penalty after getting tripped himself by New Zealand defender Ryan Nelsen in the area.

Defoe levelled before the break when he drilled into the bottom corner, and he added the third after Emmanuel Adebayor had scored a penalty.

“Louis Saha has been scoring goals as well and Manu (Adebayor) gives us something different. But Jermain’s a good finisher,” said Redknapp.

“He must have a chance (for England), there is a shortage of top strikers in this country. If there is a problem area, that is it.

“Jermain is up there with the best of them when he’s sharp. He’s looking sharp at the moment so I’m delighted.

“He’s been with me all his career, on and off, so I know what he can do,” added Redknapp, who has has Defoe with him at several clubs.

Victory set up a last eight clash with Bolton and Redknapp is hoping for Cup glory and a top-four finish in the Premier League to round off a fine season.

“We want Champions League football and we want to win the FA Cup,” he said.

“Both are important but the league is very important and we don’t want to waste that opportunity we’ve given ourselves.”

However, Redknapp looks set to be without Michael Dawson for the rest of the season after the centre-back suffered ankle and knee injuries while landing awkwardly on Wednesday.

“It didn’t look good, it looked like his ankle and his knee,” Redknapp said. “Looking at it, it would be a miracle if it wasn’t the season. Michael is a great guy and you want him around the place.”

Spurs’ Aaron Lennon also injured his hamstring and Redknapp added: “He keeps tweaking hamstrings. Many quick players tend to get them and he’s had more than his fair share.”

Stevenage manager Gary Smith was justifiably proud of his team’s performance.

“It was a great start, it was probably more than we could have imagined and there is always that opportunity when you have a group as spirited as I have,” he said.

“It was a shame not to be ahead for half-time but to go in at level terms was a nice place to be. They acquitted themselves incredibly well.”