Let’s start with teasers…
First professional football club – West Ham United
Exception goal record at the age of 21
I don’t feel like I’m getting older
I just get up in the morning and say: ‘Yeah man, I’m ready to score goals
The best thing about football is that the rules are so simple. Anyone can play anywhere
Before games, people ask whether I get nervous. To be honest, I don’t get nervous, I just enjoy it. I am living the dream.
Whom are we talking about…
While listing down Premier League legends, names such as Alan Shearer, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes, Patrick Vieira strike one’s mind. All of these iconic footballers have one thing in common: winning a Premier League title at some point of time in their illustrious careers.
There’s a horde of players who have never lifted the League title yet are fit to be deemed as English Top Flight legends just because of their perennial presence and vivid journey. Look at Steven Gerrard for instance, the ex-Liverpool man never lifted the Premier League crown yet is considered one of the finest footballers to ever grace the League. Another name that fits in this bracket is of Jermain Defoe.
Defoe’s journey from scoring a winner on debut to spending 17 seasons in the Premier League is truly extraordinary. Jermain Defoe boasts a career graph where he’s worn colours of Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Sunderland, Portsmouth and AFC Bournemouth. Right through Defoe’s glorious career, he’s experienced it all, from relegation battling to the upper grasps of the table, from winning a league cup to playing in the second division. The English striker has always been a treat to watch in the Premier League. Let’s take a look at the unforgettable dazzling journey he’s had..
Where it all began…
Jermain Defoe’s first professional club was West Ham United but his interaction with football began way before. The Beckton born joined the Sunday league team Senrab, the club that has proudly produced players like Ashley Cole, John Terry. His qualities at a tender age of 14 were spotted by Charlton Athletic and the Addicks enrolled him to the FA National School of excellence.
Footballers and controversies go hand in hand, another such example was when Defoe controversially decided to sign a professional contract at the age of 16 with West Ham United. Defoe spent a significant amount of time in Hammers U-19 team winning Premier Academy league in 1999-2000. In September 2000, the moment finally arrived when the 18 year old Jermain made his Premier League debut against Walsall. The youngster had the debut of his dreams when he also scored the winning goal. Then West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, was impressed by the wonder kid soon understanding that the player needs to play more often.
When you are stacked with forwards like Paulo Di Canio, Frederic Kanuoute and Paul Kitson, a 18 year old academy player can’t expect more playing opportunities. Defoe was shipped on loan to Second division side AFC Bournemouth. At the Cherries, he shot to prominence by scoring 18 goals in 29 games and also creating a record of scoring in ten consecutive games. The world now started to notice Defoe’s talent. His exploits with Bournemouth were just a mere sign of bigger things to come. He returned to West Ham as a kid destined to shine at the biggest of stages.
What was Jermain Defoe footballer like…
Jermain Defoe is one of the most prolific strikers that the Premier League has ever witnessed. Now a days, the modern breed of strikers have a fully muscle loaded body, who often bully defenders throughout the game, sprint like a supersonic speedster and offer variety of options for the coach to play with. Jermain Defoe was of a different type. The type that became obsolete and almost died with Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Jimmy Floyd and Michael Owen.
Defoe was a diminutive figure, an impish striker who was a killer in the box. For much part of his career, he played as a lone front man in whichever team he featured in. Defoe’s instincts and skills were suited for him to assume the role of a primary striker rather than a secondary attacker.
The Englishman has always had a knack of scoring a bunch of goals. Despite not always being a starter, he ended up as West Ham United’s top goalscorer with 14 goals on his return to the Hammers from Bournemouth in 2001-02. Greatness loomed, however his goals the following season proved helpless in preventing West Ham from relegation.
What are the moments we remember Jermain Defoe for…
Jermain Defoe indulged in a shocking controversy when he was in West Ham team.
In less than 24 hours of West Ham getting relegated, Defoe, then 21, showed signs of immaturity by handing a transfer request, adding more misery to West Ham’s suffering. Though he apologized soon, but the striker had already lost support from fans. The following season saw an ill-mannered Defoe getting penalized for disciplinary action and finally being sold to Tottenham Hotspur in 2004. Despite the entire saga being contentious, this does stand out to be an evergreen talking point in Defoe’s career. Defoe spent next four seasons at White Hart Lane notching 64 goals in 177 appearances.
Following his father figure from Tottenham to Portsmouth and back to Tottenham.
At Tottenham despite impressive showings, Defoe wasn’t successful in nailing down a starting spot under Robbie Keane. The final nail to his Tottenham career was Spurs signing Darren Bent in 2007-08 which led to immense speculations regarding Defoe’s future. In January 2008, Defoe made a sensational move to Portsmouth to reunite with his former coach Harry Redkanpp. The pair was in awe of each other. The English manager had spotted the flair in Defoe during his West Ham days and now finally had the striker at his disposal. The duo worked in tandem effectively as Defoe helped Portsmouth club reach UEFA Cup first round. The pupil followed the master as Harry Redknapp left the Pompeys to take charge of Tottenham Hotspur. This is when we arrive at the third memorable moment in Defoe’s career: A sensational return to Tottenham. In his second spell at the club, he was absolutely unstoppable. He scored five goals in a 9-1 thrashing of Wigan, becoming only the third player to do so after Alan Shearer and Andy Cole. While his rich vein of form continued for large parts of his Spurs career, Defoe continued to rack up goals everywhere and landed in the top five of Spurs all time goalscoring charts.
Unusual step of joining MLS side Toronto FC
In 2014 Defoe shocked premier league fans by moving to Toronto FC. It is not to belittle MLS football in saying that but at 31, Defoe still had plenty to offer Premier League teams. Indeed, he rejected advances from clubs closer to home to pursue his transatlantic adventure. That decision slaughtered his England career, with Defoe last representing his country in 2013.
Return to the Premier League and proving doubters wrong
When a thirst for top-quality football drew Defoe back to the Premier League, premier League followers started believing that the striker was outdated and very few predicted Jermain Defoe to have a late resurrection with Sunderland. Defoe has always been obsessed with scoring goals and, ultimately, the thrill of scoring a Premier League goal eclipsed an MLS one. His record for Sunderland thrust him back into the reckoning for an England call-up and he became the highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League upon his return.
The most highlighting moment of his Sunderland’s career was scoring the winner against Chelsea in the 2015-16 season that helped the Black Cats climb above the relegation zone. He ended as Sunderland’s top scorer with 15 goals and quite remarkably saved them from relegation. However, the following season, Sunderland’s misfortunes couldn’t be corrected by Defoe as the club suffered relegation.
Final stint in English Premier League
Jermain Defoe signed for Bournemouth in 2017 and scored his first goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Brighton, in the process achieving an incredible feat, scoring in 17 different Premier League seasons.
Where is Jermain Defoe currently ( January 2020 )…
Jermain Defoe’s time in the Premier League has come to a halt as he was loaned to Rangers in January 2019 for 18 months. With the attacker now aged 37, it is unlikely for him to return to the demanding Premier League. Currently, under Steven Gerrard, the England international has scored 11 goals in 16 Scottish Premiership games this term. Throughout his career, he has repeatedly proved to be a phenomenal goalscorer. Jermain Defoe stands 7th in English Top Flight’s all time top scorers list. It’s high time that fans start recognizing Defoe as one of the greatest survivors of English Football.
How other premier league professional’s view Jermain Defoe…
Harry Redknapp said “He’s done great. I sent him out to Bournemouth to get some experience playing league football and he’s coped marvellously. To score 10 goals in 10 games is a terrific achievement. He’s a bright lad who’s full of confidence. Nothing knocks him, he’s a typical goal-scorer. If he misses, he’ll be there the next time looking for a goal. He’s a kid with a big future ” On Defoe’s outstanding form at AFC Bouremouth in 2000-01 season
David Pleat said “I can’t think of a British striker at his age who has achieved as much in such a short space of time. His goal record for a 21-year-old is quite exceptional. I hope he will have a fine career at Tottenham ” on Defoe signing for Spurs in 2004.
Harry Redknapp said “With Cristiano Ronaldo gone, he can push to be the [Premier League] top scorer ” on the striker when he was at Tottenham in 2009-10.
What Jermain Defoe says about Jermain Defoe…
“I don’t feel like I’m getting older. I think it’s the way I’ve looked after myself. I take my football seriously. I love scoring goals and I get a good feeling from it, so I’ll do whatever it takes to be fit and feel good in games.”
“I just get up in the morning and say: ‘Yeah man, I’m ready to score goals.”
“The best thing about football is that the rules are so simple. Anyone can play anywhere.”
“As much as I love West Ham United I feel that now is the right time for me to move on in my career. This is very much a career decision. I am very ambitious and hungry to achieve at the highest levels of the game for both club and country.” –This particular statement invited a lot of criticism as he handed a transfer request just 24 hours after West Ham’s relegation.
“Before games, people ask whether I get nervous. To be honest, I don’t get nervous, I just enjoy it. I am living the dream. When I was a kid I always wanted to play for my country and now I am here, I will enjoy it.”
Jermain Defoe Trivia…
- Did you know Jermain Defoe won the Football League Cup medal nearly 10 years after Spurs won the trophy. When Tottenham beat Chelsea in the final, Defoe had already made a move to Portsmouth but played in the initial stages of the competition in the Spurs jersey.
- In a match against West Bromwich Albion in 2010-11, even though the match ended in a 2-2 draw, Defoe’s goal had a lot of significance. The strike was the 100th goal of 2010-11 Premier League season and Tottenham Hotspur’s 1000th goal scored for Spurs in the Premier League era.
- The England international is currently Tottenham’s second highest leading goalscorer in Europe with 23 goals in 35 games. Only Harry Kane has more goals (30 goals in 55 games).
- During his time at Sunderland, Defoe formed a special connection with Bradley Lowery who bravely fought against a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma but tragically passed away in July 2017, aged six. The striker had a special bond with the child and has tattooed Bradley’s name on his arm after the tragic death.
- When he scored on his Rangers debut against Kilmarnock, it meant that Defoe has now scored for 5 of his 7 clubs on debut.
Jermain Defoe Stats ( What you can find at wiki and all other places ) …
|West Ham United||2000-2001||17||1||0||22||0||0|
|West Ham United||2001-2002||18||35||14||1636||10||1|
|West Ham United||2002-2003||19||38||29||2812||8||6|
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