Jermain Defoe hasn’t given up on his dream of playing for England again – but admits he is unsure whether it will happen.
Defoe missed out on the England squad for Euro 2016 despite finishing the 2015-16 season as the league’s third-highest English goalscorer.
He has again been in scintillating form for Sunderland this season, but hasn’t featured for England for almost four years.
England boss Gareth Southgate was at Goodison Park last weekend but it is understood he was keeping an eye on Everton duo Ross Barkley and Tom Davies and Sunderland stopper Jordan Pickford.
It leaves Defoe unsure as to whether he will feature for the Three Lions again.
“I feel like I should have been involved last season if it’s based on merit and stats – on who’s scoring goals,” said 34-year-old Defoe, who is again top scorer for the Black Cats with 14 goals this season.
“I was in the England squad for like 10 years, and probably most of that time I was at Tottenham scoring goals.
“There were times where I wasn’t even playing but I was still in the squad because of the goals I scored before.
“So I don’t know. I’ve always been a positive person, but there comes a time where you think ‘Is it really going to happen?’
“All I can do is keep playing well. The English fans – I read some nice stuff on social media and in the press too.
“So for me it’s a nice feeling that people want me back into the squad.
“At the end of the day it’s up to the manager so we’ll see.”
You have to go back to 2013 for the last of Defoe’s 55 England caps, as a second-half sub against Chile at Wembley.
The last of his 19 goals England goals came in March 2013, when he bagged a brace away to San Marino.
He was overlooked by Roy Hodgson for the European Championship last summer and was not included in his World Cup squad two years ago either.