Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

Sunderland star nearly certain for England call-up

Sunderland star nearly certain for England call-up

That has led to a recall for 34-year-old Sunderland striker Defoe four years on from the last of his 55 caps, as well as teenager Marcus Rashford's presence in the senior squad as opposed to Aidy Boothroyd's Under-21s.

England travel to Germany for a friendly on Wednesday, March 22, and then host Lithuania in World Cup qualifying on Sunday, March 26 at Wembley Stadium.

"His strike rate is outstanding so I didn't want to just look at his age and think "he is finished with England".

"You need a leadership group because if a player is injured and your captain's not around, who comes and knocks on the door and asks for jelly babies in the afternoon or whatever it is?"

"I don't think that he expects, if he is not playing every week for his club, to be picked".

"He warrants the call-up. We can't just look at young players all the time, we have to get results now".

"Generally speaking we are looking towards the future, but at times an older player in this camp, with his experience, with his goalscoring record, is an important part of the squad".

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Harry Kane will definitely miss the two games while there are concerns over the match fitness of Wayne Rooney, who was unavailable for Manchester United's FA Cup clash against Chelsea on Monday.

Defoe's return to the global fold is richly deserved after a couple of prolific seasons with the lowly Black Cats.

Asked how he felt about holding one of the biggest jobs in football, Southgate said: "Well it's not if we've only won three knockout games in 27 years, respectfully".

"It is a really tough call on him", the England boss said. He showed that against Bayern, when he scored the goal and there was a penalty on him [not given]. With our wide players - the way we're playing at the moment we like to get the players between the lines slightly differently. He's a striker who knows where the goal is and is very much in form.

Rooney has scored 53 goals for the Three Lions in 119 games.

Southgate explained: "Andy [Carroll] I don't think has played enough".

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