Sunderland fans – is there a striker you would swap for Jermain Defoe?
This reporter thought not.
I believe it was meant to happen like this.
Defoe might be 34 and closer to the end of his career than the start but you can’t think of a player you would pick in front of him.
There is surely not a more clinical or cooler marksman prowling the football fields of England.
Three matches in a row he has had only had one sight at the net and scored each time, his goals against Bournemouth and Hull City proving pivotal to Sunderland registering back-to-back victories.
Defoe reached the Premier League’s 150 club on Saturday, when he scored the Black Cats’ opener in the 3-0 romp against the Tigers at the Stadium of Light.
The ex-England forward got on the end of a Duncan Watmore flick from a Billy Jones ball forward.
Defoe had a lot of work to do but he jinked his way past Curtis Davies and his old Spurs team-mate Michael Dawson before slotting past David Marshall into the keeper’s right corner.
It was a great goal to bring up a great landmark, joining an illustrious list with Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (194), Andy Cole (187), Frank Lampard (177), Thierry Henry (175), Robbie Fowler (163) and Michael Owen (also 150).
“I wanted to do it at the Stadium of Light so to do it here in a big game that we’ve won, and earn back-to-back wins, was meant to be,” he said afterwards.
“And I believe it was meant to happen like this so I’m delighted.”
The striker is not just clever at finding the net, the man is a genius.
Today, the Gazette takes a look at the career, where his goals have been scored and who his principal victims have been.
Saturday’s expertly-taken strike was the 27th goal he has scored with his left foot.
Three quarters of his goals have come from his stronger right boot, but he saves his ‘weaker’ side for special occasions.
His 20-yard derby stunner which won the vital 2015 clash with Newcastle came from his left peg as did Sunderland’s goal in the Tyne-Wear clash at St James’s Park 12 months later.
The Black Cats stand second on the Defoe chart, bagging 26 for the Wearsiders, having amassed 91 of his goals for Tottenham. And, what a run of form he has enjoyed in Sunderland’s red and white shirts.
The stats show that 40% of his career goals, 59, have come away from home – a very respectable figure.
And some of his key goals for Sunderland came last season in the all green kit.
Think about his preditor-like instincts to score the winner at Crystal Palace and the opener in his fourth Premier League hat-trick at Swansea.
He also showed his great timing to beat the offside trap to score at the Liberty on the same night, while he displayed his ability to turn and score when he completed the Sunderland revival at Liverpool in the 2-2 draw.
Defoe also demonstrated nerves of steel when he netted the last-gasp equaliser from the spot in the 1-1 draw at Stoke.
It is remarkable to note that, unlike some of his rivals in the charts, his total has not inflated by penalties.
In fact, only 12 of his 150 have come from 12 yards.
Once sacked as Tottenham’s penalty taker by Harry Redknapp after a string of failures, Defoe has not looked like missing for his current employers, converting all three this season against Southampton, Arsenal and Bournemouth. That was his first goal against his former club – one of six teams he has only a solitary strike against.
Wigan are his favourite foes in the top flight, scoring 10 against the Latics.
Like all great goal scorers, Defoe loves to score and he loves Sunderland and Sunderland loves him.