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Make Your Case: Defoe For England?

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It's another clash of the Roker Report behemoths - should Jermain Defoe be a part of England's 2016 European Championships squad or should Roy Hodgson be looking elsewhere when it comes to striking options?

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@CalMackay90 - Defoenately!

Jermain Defoe faces a fight to get to the Euros with England. Roy Hodgson’s performance on Match of the Day, along with Shearer and Lineker’s reluctance to ask him about Defoe’s chances - despite asking him explicitly about the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Mark Noble - shows to me that there is a prevailing indifference to Defoe that will be tough to overcome.

However, this is about whether he should go to the Euros and to me, that’s pretty cut and dry. Of course he should. When we consider the other main striking options - Rooney, Kane, Vardy, Welbeck and Sturridge - Defoe offers more than several of these players.

Kane and Vardy deserve their places on form and Rooney, while undeserving in my view, will go because, to quote Mr Hodgson, "Wayne Rooney is Wayne Rooney". He’s scored a lot of Premier League goals in the past and he’s the captain, so there’s no point pretending Defoe could take his place. The potential inclusion of Welbeck and Sturridge, however, represents everything that’s wrong with the England squad. Guaranteed places on name, not merit. It is instead of these two players, I believe, that Defoe should go.

Firstly, Defoe has scored Premier League goals consistently over many seasons and continues to do so now. He has 139 Premier League goals in 420 appearances. Welbeck has 31 goals in 144 Premier League appearances and is yet to convince as a central striker, often being used out wide. Sturridge’s goalscoring is impressive with 65 goals in 157 games in the Premier League. However, Sturridge’s selection comes at a great risk.

Defoe is far less injury prone than Welbeck or Sturridge. Sturridge played twelve games last season, and only six this term. His absences are often for a matter of months, useless in a tournament situation. Welbeck has also had significant injury problems, only playing his first game last weekend Despite this, Hodgson mentioned both Welbeck and Sturridge as squad options on Match of the Day. Defoe was ignored completely, despite being injury free and sharp all season, scoring thirteen goals in twenty-three games for a struggling Sunderland, who have created the second lowest number of chances this season in the league.

Defoe’s accuracy is better than any player on this list. Important in games against big teams where England may only get one or two chances, Defoe hits the target with 71% of his shots. He has a great ability to hold the ball up against bigger and stronger defenders, as shown against Sakho for his last minute goal at Liverpool. Defoe also is the second most deadly striker in the league for shots converted to goals, scoring 24.4% of his chances according to 90min.com, earning us precious points. These are qualities any national or club manager should want in their team.

So he’s in form, fit, accurate, clinical and making a huge impact for his club, scoring ten league goals already in a side who provide very few chances for him. Put all these things together, there can only be one logical conclusion. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s how the FA or Mr Hodgson work. Shame.

@GRokerReport - Defoe Not!

Jermain Defoe has been an absolute breath of fresh air since coming to Sunderland and has shown that, despite his age, his class and ability in front of goal has never waned and is showing no signs of letting up.Without his contribution this season, Sunderland would be doomed.

We were told by many when we signed Jermain that he was past it, and that he'd never work in the lone striker role because he doesn't do anything but score goals. His detractors couldn't have been more wrong. If anything, Defoe has added several facets to his game that have placed him at the top of the list when it comes to team selection, particularly since Sam Allardyce joined the club.

This is Sunderland, though. England are a whole different kettle of fish.

For me, as a fan, I take two completely different viewpoints when it comes to my club and my country. With Sunderland, we'll take whatever we can get and we'll happily shoehorn a player in if it means even slightly improving our side. With England, my outlook is completely different. I believe England's only hope of sustained success is to properly plan for the future and integrate systems and players beyond just one tournament.

Selecting players like Jermain Defoe would go against absolutely everything I believe in. Sure, he'll get you goals, and his form very much warrants some recognition but beyond this summer's tournament, is he what's needed in that England side?

I'd suggest not. Luckily for Roy Hodgson, he's got two emerging talents in Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy scoring on a regular basis at the highest level and both are players that offer something completely different to the other. Aside from that, Wayne Rooney is the England captain and is absolutely nailed on to be a part of Hodgson's plans, which leaves one more space in the side for another forward.

Danny Welbeck is a player that Hodgson is completely infatuated with, and even if he's not playing regularly for Arsenal he'll be selected, largely due to the fact he can play wide as well as up top.

Kane and Vardy have to go. Wayne Rooney, as captain, does too. The issue, however, is that all three are out-and-out centre forwards, and Hodgson has to ensure the fourth selection is a player that can play a number of roles. Sadly, that's not Jermain Defoe.

Let's face facts - Jermain hasn't been selected for international action since 2013. Having gone through the whole qualification campaign without an issue, why would Hodgson suddenly start making out-there selections when he's clearly very happy to stick by the squad that has gotten us there?

Any potential international excursions would also impact directly on his pre-season with Sunderland, meaning he'd be returning later than the rest of the squad. We saw what a proper pre-season with us done for him in the summer - he even remarked himself that he felt as fit as he had ever felt. A European jaunt with England, where he'd probably not play very much anyways as he'd be fourth choice, could impact the way he starts next season.

Being selfish, I really don't want this to happen. Jermain has performed fine for us this year without England on his mind and selecting him for the friendlies in March could even unsettle him. His goal for the season should be to keep us up, and the additional distraction of potential England inclusion may well keep him on his toes but it's a distraction that we, and he, don't need.

Who do you side with? Vote in the poll and leave your comments on the subject - everything is below this article.