Jermain Defoe can get an England recall – even though his old boss Sam Allardyce is no longer in charge of the national team.
That’s the verdict from Sunderland team-mate Seb Larsson who has marvelled at Defoe’s goalscoring exploits in a “struggling” team.
The Black Cats have managed only five goals so far in the Premier League this season, with the 33-year-old scoring four of them.
And Larsson believes England caretaker boss Gareth Southgate won’t go far wrong in selecting the diminutive striker.
Allardyce was due to name his second national squad on Sunday ahead of World Cip qualifiers at home to Malta and away to Slovenia.
But the former Sunderland boss is now without a job after the Telegraph’s ‘sting’ operation.
Allardyce knows all about Defoe’s prowess in front of goal, and had been tipped to hand him a recall with lead striker Harry Kane, who injured his ankle against the Black Cats, unavailable for the fixtures.
But Larsson believes Defoe’s chances haven’t been dented by the change of manager and says the forward would be full value for a recall to the Three Lions.
“As you have seen in a team struggling, if you give him chances he will score,” said the 31-year-old Swedish international, currently on the road to recovery after summer knee surgery.
“That’s all you can ask of a striker.
“I don’t see why he can’t get a recall.
“I know he wants it and hopefully if he keeps going he will get it.”
Many pundits thought a move to Canadian side Toronto in 2014 to play in the MLS bordered on semi-retirement for the Londoner.
But his career has been revived since he returned to England with a move to Sunderland, where he has continued his productive run in front of goal, scoring 26 times in 59 appearances.
You have to go back to 2013 for the last of his 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 during the summer and was not included in his World Cup squad two years ago either.
Allardyce overlooked his former talisman for his first – and only – game in charge but Southgate could hand the veteran forward a deserved call-up.