Defoe to wait for his chance
There was no England appearance for Jermain Defoe last night, as Gareth Southgate’s side lost 1-0 to Germany in Dortmund with the Sunderland forward sat firmly on the bench.
The England boss preferred Jamie Vardy up front but with Wembley playing host to Lithuania in a friendly on Sunday evening, Defoe likely has a good chance of a run-out in that one. And the presence of Bradley Lowery as mascot should only add to what promises to be a special night.
From a Sunderland perspective, the recall of Defoe to the national side has merely precipitated talk of him leaving the Stadium of Light in the summer should David Moyes oversee relegation from the Premier League.
The prospect of the England striker being able to leave Sunderland for free also looms again after the notion was widely discussed during the January transfer window.
Martyn Waghorn linked with move 'home'
Former Sunderland academy graduate Martyn Waghorn has been linked with a move home in the summer - no, not to Wembley-bound South Shields, the town of his birth - but back to the club he left over six years ago.
Also huge congratulations too @SouthShieldsFC well done ⚽. #Wembleybound #UTM— Martyn Waghorn (@MWaghorn33) March 18, 2017
The Daily Mail has suggested David Moyes is amongst a host of managers monitoring Waghorn - now at Rangers - and will face competition from Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town in a race for the striker.
Waghorn made his senior debut at Sunderland as a 17-year-old over a decade ago. After a promising start to life under Roy Keane, the forward found his opportunities limited and after loan spells at Charlton and Leicester, he joined the Foxes permanently in a £3m deal in 2010.
Waghorn has scored six goals in the Scottish Premiership this season from central and wide positions across the Rangers front-line and has 43 strikes to his name in his 67 games in Scotland since he moved to Ibrox from Wigan two years ago.
The 27-year-old's future at Rangers is thought to be unclear under new boss Pedro Caixinha. The lure of a return to his boyhood club might be enough to tempt him back to the Stadium of Light in the summer.
Fresh links to Scottish-based strikers may be a sign of things to come - especially with Jermain Defoe's exit from the Stadium of Light nearing the closer we get to the end of the season.
Waghorn joins Hibernian's Jason Cummings as the two forwards linked with David Moyes' Sunderland in the past week or so.
Larsson on Asoro
Sunderland's senior Swede, Sebastian Larsson, reckons his countryman, teenager Joel Asoro, needs 'peace and quiet' to continue his development out of the spotlight.
Speaking to the Swedish media about 17-year-old Asoro's prospects of breaking into the starting eleven, Larsson said:
It is very difficult to answer. He had a great preseason when he had the chance and took it very well. But so it is with young players. One must understand that there may be situations where you have to back up and continue your development in peace and quiet.
It's not always peace and quiet in an 'A' team in a situation where we [Sunderland] are. But there is a guy with a very big talent.
And on that note, asked whether being at a club like Sunderland - always fighting for its existence - is difficult for teenage prospects like Asoro, Larsson reckons the experience can do no harm,
You learn to turn things into something positive. I talk to Joel and try to give him some of my experiences.
I was young when I first came over [to England], so something right came out of that [for me]. But you have to find your own way and know what works.
Ahead of a World Cup Qualifier with Belarus and a friendly against Portugal, Larsson is hoping he can continue as a central-midfielder for his country after an international career spent mainly at right-back or as a winger:
I've played there [central midfield] a lot in recent years so it's a position I feel comfortable in and I'd love to play there for the national team too.
No Januzaj for Belgium after all
There was speculation in Belgium earlier in the week that Adnan Januzaj might be a late call-up to Roberto Martinez's latest squad to replace the injured Eden Hazard.
It wasn’t to be. The Belgium national team manager has opted to call on Eden's brother, Thorgan, instead.
Meanwhile, here's Adnan wishing his good friend Paul Pogba happy birthday last week: