Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defoe's the Man Who'll Keep Black Cats Safe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defoe's the Man Who'll Keep Black Cats Safe

Article excerpt

Byline: DON HUTCHISON @donhutch4

FORGET the money, the contract and his age - Jermain Defoe comes with an anti-relegation guarantee for Sunderland. I played alongside Jermain when he was only a kid at West Ham and I was impressed from the moment that I saw him play. He is a phenomenal goalscorer and you won't find many footballers - either current or ex-professionals - who doubt his ability inside the six-yard box.

I am still quite friendly with him now and a couple of years ago, when Kenny Dalglish was the manager of Liverpool, I saw him in my local gym. I'd always said to him that he should be playing for a Manchester United, a Liverpool or an Arsenal because with decent service I think he's a guaranteed 20-goals-a-season man.

That day he told me he was signing for Liverpool. Kenny really liked him, Liverpool needed a striker and he was available to leave Tottenham. He was happy about it and I was too because I think he deserved it.

The next thing Kenny got sacked and it all went quiet. I saw him again a week or so later and he told me the new guy - Brendan Rodgers - didn't really fancy him. Maybe he wasn't Rodg-ers' style of striker but I'm confident he will score more for Sunderland than many of Liverpool's current strikers.

I know money and the length of the contract have had a part to play but Sunderland have done very, very well to bring him in. Half of the Premier League wanted him and whatever Newcastle fans will be saying about the length of deal and all of that, secretly they will be a bit envious. He's the sort of player Newcastle should take a chance on from time to time.

It's a great signing for Sunderland. I have been critical of Gus Poyet recently and I wrote on Monday that it was time for him to 'man up' and stop complaining - basically asking him to do something about the form Sunderland are in.

I watched them and thought they were so poor that I feared for them. A relegation fight seemed to be the direction things were going in but this signing is a brilliant pick-me-up for everyone connected to the club. It's a signing for the fans and believe me, it will lift the rest of the players too. …

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