Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Out-of-Goals Defoe Back in Front Line

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Out-of-Goals Defoe Back in Front Line

Article excerpt


DROPPED to the bench after a barren spell, Jermain Defoe cut a lonely figure as he watched Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Bolton from the sidelines.

It is not the sort of treatment a star player expects in a season that has seen him emerge as an England regular, but Jacques Santini is not swayed by big reputations.

By dropping Defoe, Tottenham's head coach was reacting to Spurs' poor scoring record - just six Premiership goals this season - and wanted to see what Fredi Kanoute and Robbie Keane had to offer up front.

The gamble partly paid off against Bolton with a goal for Irishman Keane, created by his strike partner to level the game before halftime but Spurs still struggled to make chances.

Defoe is now expected to return for tonight's Carling Cup clash at Bolton.

Captain Jamie Redknapp said: "Robbie took his goal on Saturday really well but we did not get as many chances as we would have liked. I think the manager is having a look at things.

Jermain has played quite a bit of football in recent weeks and he probably wanted to rest him.

"We have three such good strikers that you are always going to have one who is unhappy when he is not playing."

After scoring three times in the first month of the campaign, Defoe has not found the net in the Premiership since 28 August. His last goal for Spurs came in their 6-0 Carling Cup demolition of Oldham.

In his defence, the 22-year-old's cause has hardly been helped by Santini's negative tactics that have earned his side the 'boring' tag.

With stopping the opposition seen as Spurs' top priority, the supply line to the strikers has been limited, leaving Defoe, Keane and/or Kanoute to fight a lonely battle.

Former Spurs striker Les Ferdinand reckons his old West Ham team-mate is also suffering from increased levels of expectation in the wake of his England breakthrough. …

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