Defoe never gave up England hope

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Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe never gave up hope of
returning to the England squad.

The 34-year-old has not featured for the national side since
November 2013, but could make his comeback in the friendly
against Germany or the World Cup qualifier versus Lithuania
after receiving a call up from Gareth Southgate, who is without
injured Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

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“There were times where I did think ‘maybe I am not going to
get in’. But that did not stop me from getting my head down,
working hard and just hoping that one day I would get an
opportunity to represent my country again,” Defoe said at a
news conference.

“I never gave up. I was getting a lot of stick from the lads on
the [Sunderland] training ground because I still have the
England flag on my boots. But I was just hoping I would get the
opportunity again and now it has come I am delighted.

“It feels different coming in as one of the senior lads. The
first time round, coming in as a youngster, you are like a
sponge, you try and take everything from the manager and the
players. This time around it is a bit strange. I am a senior
lad and I want to try and help the younger lads, but even some
of them have experience under their belts, which is important.”

The call up will boost Defoe’s ambitious hopes of making it to
the 2018 World Cup, should England qualify.

“If I do get an opportunity to go to another major tournament
it would be a dream,” he added.

“Travelling, getting to the hotel, playing the games. It is
something I wanted to do as a kid, growing up watching the
major players on TV and wanting to emulate them.

“To be lucky enough to have experienced it, you just want it
more and more.”

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