Gareth? I don’t know a Gareth – Defoe confusion at Southgate call

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Jermain Defoe has revealed his initial confusion when England
manager Gareth Southgate got in touch to tell the Sunderland
striker he was being recalled after three and a half years out
of the squad.


Walcott’s England snub just bizarre

Defoe’s 14 Premier League goals this season earned him a place
in Southgate’s 26-man squad for matches against Germany and
Lithuania, with fellow strikers Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and
Daniel Sturridge all unavailable.

But when Southgate tried to let Defoe know the good news, the
34-year-old did not initially realise who was messaging him.

“It was funny because on the iPhones,it pops up on the screen,
but you don’t see the full message,” he told Sunderland’s
official website.

“I just saw the name. I thought, ‘Gareth? I don’t know a
Gareth, who’s this?’, so I put my phone down.

“Then I looked at it – ‘Hi Jermain, it’s Gareth Southgate, can
I give you a call when you’re free?’ And I said: ‘Yes, no
problem’ and we just had a chat, really, about how I felt about
England.”

Defoe played against Southgate earlier in his career and he
praised the England manager for his communication.

“We had a good chat,” said Defoe. “He’s a nice guy, someone who
I played against, so we had a little laugh about that.

“I said, ‘It’s been a long time, I remember you kicking me
years ago’, but generally, he’s a really nice man, to be fair.
I’ve always had respect for him.

“I just think it’s nice when managers actually pick the phone
up. It’s a five-minute phone call, so I appreciated the phone
call and I’m obviously delighted that I’m back in there.”

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