Ten things all Sunderland fans need to know about Jermain Defoe

SWOOP ... Jermain Defoe.
SWOOP ... Jermain Defoe.

THE imminent signing of Jermain Defoe has excited many Sunderland fans, with the striker expected to join in a swap deal for Jozy Altidore.

The 32-year-old has had a long and successful career, at club and international level, and his immediate aim on Wearside will be to shoot Sunderland to Premier League survival.

Hopes are high that the striker will be able to do that, as he has been a regular scorer of goals wherever he has been.

Read on below to find out more about Sunderland’s imminent arrival.

1. Youth success

As a youngster, Defoe played for renowned Sunday league side Senrab.

The likes of John Terry, Ledley King and Ashley Cole had played for the team in the past.

Defoe later joined the FA School of Excellence, at Lilleshall.

The striker’s skills were always obvious, so much so that he was named the captain of his school team aged just six.

2. Faith

Defoe is a devout Christian.

On his website, the 32-year-old says: “I was born in the heart of Canning Town, East London, and was raised with Christian values.

“My relationship with God has been there from an early age as I attended church every Sunday without fail.

“I truly believe that my football skills are a gift from God.”

3. Career beginnings

Defoe started in Charlton Athletic’s academy, but aged 16, he opted to sign a professional contract with West Ham United.

The Hammers had to pay compensation of £1.65m for the youngster.

He scored on his first-team debut, in a League Cup win against Walsall, while he also won the Premier Academy title with the Hammers in 2000.

4. Gaining experience

West Ham opted to send Defoe out on loan to Bournemouth, and he blossomed there.

He scored on his first 10 league appearances for the club, equalling a post-war Football League record jointly held by John Aldridge and Clarrie Jordan.

5. Close relationship

Defoe is especially close to his mother.

On his website, the striker says: “There are many things that I have achieved in my career but nothing meant more to me than being able to buy my mum a house.”

He added: “Coming from a working class background, I make an effort to go into local communities where I attend presentations for charitable causes.

“I feel honoured to work alongside the many different organisations that are making every effort to give back to those that are in need.

“I understand the importance of working hard to achieve goals and throughout my life I follow the belief that dedication plus hard work equals success.”

6. Quick starter

Sunderland fans will be hoping Defoe keeps up a remarkable record when he first steps onto a pitch in a red and white shirt.

The striker has scored on his first appearance for every club he has played for.

7. Spurs record breaker

Defoe has played for five clubs, but Tottenham Hotspur is the one closest to his heart.

He has had two spells at White Hart Lane, scoring 143 goals. Only four players in the club’s history have scored more.

In November 2013, the striker scored his 23rd goal for the club in European competition – no one has scored more in a Spurs shirt.

8. International career

Defoe has scored 19 times in 55 appearances for England, but his move to Toronto FC last January arguably cost him the chance of going to the 2014 World Cup.

He made his debut for the national team in 2004, but missed out on selection for that year’s European Championship and the World Cup two years later.

England did not qualify for the 2008 European Championship, but Defoe did go with them to the 2010 World Cup, scoring the winner against Slovenia in the group stage.

Defoe also went with England to the 2012 European Championship.

9. Sharp shooter

Defoe has always been known for his goalscoring ability, and he is a member of the Premier League’s ‘100 club’.

The striker has scored 124 times in England’s top flight, placing him 14th on the Premier League list of top scorers.

He is within four goals of the next three players ahead of him, so will hope to move further up the list during his time on Wearside.

Meanwhile, Defoe is also one of just four players to have scored five times in one Premier League game. He scored them in a 9-1 win for Spurs over Wigan Athletic in 2009.

10. Charitable foundation

The striker set up the Jermain Defoe Foundation in 2013 to “support homeless, vulnerable and abused young people in his family’s home country of St Lucia”, according to the charity’s website.

The foundation is also hoping to raise funds to build a second children’s home in the south of the country.

Defoe also wants to set up a football academy in St Lucia.

More details can be found at www.jermaindefoefoundation.org