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.