'I can’t stop smiling' - Jermain Defoe delivers this emotional verdict on his Sunderland return

Jermain Defoe said he ‘could not stop smiling’ after sealing an emotional return to Wearside in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

By Phil Smith
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 8:19 am

Sunderland confirmed that Defoe has signed an ‘initial’ contract until the end of the season, indicating scope to extend the relationship further should it suit all parties.

The 39-year-old was revered for his goal scoring efforts during his first spell at the club, as well as the emotional bond he struck forged with Bradley Lowery.

‘Best mates’, the duo walked out at the Stadium of Light together on numerous occasions and they captured hearts across the world in March 2017 when Lowery led out the Three Lions at Wembley Stadium and Defoe scored on his coveted England return.

Jermain Defoe has sealed an emotional return to Sunderland

Defoe left the club to join Bournemouth in the aftermath of relegation from the Premier League in 2017, but has now returned to try and haul it out of League One at the fourth time of asking.

“I can’t stop smiling because this is a special move for me for many reasons,” Defoe said.

“I’ve had so many messages saying, ‘remember when you said you would come back’, as I said that I would one day and when I left, I wasn’t ready to leave.

“I have a special bond with the fans here and the club is in a fantastic position to get promoted. I want to be a part of more special times here and I’m looking forward to it.”

Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman added: “We all know how high highly regarded Jermain is amongst our fan base and within the wider community. He returns at a crucial time in our season, and we firmly believe that he can have a positive influence on and off the pitch.

"Jermain’s personality is infectious and his mindset is elite. He is a proven winner and a goalscorer and we are delighted to welcome him back to the Stadium of Light.”

Defoe became Sunderland’s fifth and final signing of the January window, after 20-year-old midfielder Jay Matete joined from Fleetwood Town on a four-and-a-half year deal.

The Black Cats paid a significant six-figure sum to beat off interest from the Championship and the Premier League.