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Roker Report Player of the Month: February 2017 - Jermain Defoe

It will hardly come as a shock to most of you, but Sunderland's goalscoring talisman Jermain Defoe is your Roker Report Player of the Month for February.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

February, in truth, was a truly awful month for Sunderland - despite it beginning with an outstanding win away at Crystal Palace, we followed that victory up with two lacklustre performances and defeats against Southampton and Everton.

It was in that Crystal Palace game that we gave arguably our best showing of the season, with each player on the pitch that day putting in man of the match-worthy performances. We battled hard, took our chances when they came and walked away from London with three points against a team managed by Sam Allardyce that is directly battling against relegation with us. It was the perfect result.

To then follow up such an unbelievable victory with a 4-0 home loss to a struggling Southampton side was typically Sunderland, the result of which perhaps found our fanbase at it's lowest ebb in a season full of disappointment and sorrow. Having gone in to the game with unreal amounts of hope and optimism, many left the Stadium of Light before the final whistle had even blown - such was the despondency felt by the majority of the let-down supporters in the ground that day.

After a two week break - with an all-expenses paid team bonding trip to New York for the players sandwiched in between - we took on Everton at Goodison Park this past weekend and yet another meek showing from Sunderland ensured that the home side were able to take all three points without really having to get out of first gear.

Having barely mustered up any semblance of fight or dignity, we now head in to March not knowing quite where this season is going to take us.

The one shining light throughout February - despite actually not playing particularly well in the latter two games - is of course Jermain Defoe, and he is the man that our readers have voted as Roker Report Player of the Month.

Defoe's two goals against Crystal Palace were both outstanding finishes on his left foot and he's continuing to prove that, even at the age of 34, he's still one of the finest and most clinical forwards in the Premier League today.

With his one chance that he did get against Everton hitting the bar, Jermain is unlucky that he wasn't able to increase his goalscoring tally further in a month where we actually played very little football - in more than one sense.

Rarely would I advocate giving out player of the month to someone based on things that they've done off the field, but Defoe's beautiful relationship with young Bradley Lowery continues to capture the hearts of both football fans and non-football fans all over the world and his special connection with a little boy that has seemingly united people all over has been something that we should be immensely proud of. Jermain represents Sunderland superbly both on and off the pitch, and he deserves immense credit for doing so.

Here's hoping that March can prove to be more fruitful for Sunderland than January and February were - in truth, we need another string of top-class performances from Defoe if we are to stand any chance of coming out of our games against Manchester City and Burnley with three points.