Defoe looks set to get his moment at last

Jermain Defoe's World Cup moment seems to have arrived at last. He was bitterly disappointed to miss out in 2006 and spent the summer in philosophical mood with his great friend Shaun Wright-Phillips, whose role on the margins at Chelsea saw him miss the cut, too.

The individual he might have to thank for the prospect of a start – if he gets one today – is the Slovenian manager, Matjaz Kek.

It was Kek who pointed out at Wembley nine months ago the considerable part the Tottenham striker had played in a 2-1 win against his Slovenian side, with the goal he scored when arriving in place of Emile Heskey after half-time just part of the story. "[Fabio] Capello should think seriously... about picking Defoe," Kek said in September.

But Capello remained unconvinced. "What more does Defoe have to do to persuade you to pick him from the start?" he was asked outside the England dressing room that afternoon. To which Capello replied: "Perhaps he would be tired if he played from the first minute. Ha, ha, ha, ha!"

"But Heskey is poor and you still play him," Capello's questioner continued. "Heskey, for me, played a good first half," he replied. And so the conversation continued before Capello wrapped it up. "If he [Defoe] plays the second half, he has scored goals. That's good.''

Now, as England seek some energy, it seems Defoe will get his chance to start. The problem is that Defoe and Rooney are still a relatively untested partnership. They have started only seven games together and only one goal has been scored by either of them in those games. On occasions, the delineation between their duties is unclear, while Heskey's presence creates a clear area for Rooney to operate within. There would be no time better than this afternoon to prove the partnership can work, though, even if Kek is the man with most belief in it.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate