Pitchside

Why Defoe doesn’t deserve a place in the England squad

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Jermain Defoe's inclusion in the England squad raised a few eyebrows. Here our friends at Squawka gently explain why he didn't deserve a call-up...

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Jermain Defoe will pick up his 56th England cap if he steps on to the pitch in Wednesday's friendly against Denmark although he faces stiff competition from Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez in Roy Hodgson's ranks.

During his time as a Three Lions player he has 19 goals to his name which is slightly better than a goal every three games - impressive at international level - and he played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as well as Euro 2012.

There is no doubt that Defoe has served his country well, even despite the debacle at the 2006 World Cup when he was flown out to the tournament as a stand-by player and sent home again when Wayne Rooney was declared fit, with a 17-year-old Theo Walcott, yet to play in the Premier League, making the squad ahead of him.

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However, with Defoe having a poor Premier League campaign, seeing him play just 14 times before his move to Toronto, and other English attackers in far better form, should Roy Hodgson have really called up the departing Tottenham hero?

In the Premier League this season Defoe has completed 434 minutes of action, considerably less than the other strikers in the squad. He also only has one goal whereas Sturridge has 18, Rooney 10, Rodriguez 10, Welbeck eight and Rickie Lambert eight.

Additionally, non-squad members such as Peter Crouch and Saido Berahino have also scored more goals than Defoe - as have Charlie Austin and Danny Ings who have been prolific, albeit in a lower division.

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Defoe also offers little else with fewer key passes and assists than any of his squad rivals. He has made just eight key passes this season; Welbeck is next with nine. Rooney is the most creative with 35 chances created and has the most assists of the six, with nine, whereas Defoe hasn't made a single assist.

In fact, all he does have going for him is a higher shot accuracy than anyone else with 57% of his strikes hitting the target. However, this is limited to a small sample size of 20 shots.

However, when he is given minutes and starts he can still be trusted to find some form and the back of the net. In the Europa League he has played in four games and scored five goals, and if we look at his shots and goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League (below), Defoe comes out on top against his fellow England strikers.

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The ex-Spurs man has the most shots every 90 minutes (4.15) and has the most shots inside the area too (2.70). This indicates that Defoe is willing to take risks and has the ability to get his shots away, something which could be crucial in tight international games.

You can look at the squad and Defoe’s selection in many ways. You could say that he has not had enough minutes under his belt this season and that he has not scored enough goals; you could argue that his move to the MLS means he will not be playing at a high enough standard; and you can make the point that his chance has been and gone and it is time to give his place to someone newer or younger to freshen up the squad.

Whichever way you look at it though the outcome is obvious: Jermain Defoe does not deserve his place in the England set-up anymore.

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