Defoe ready if called upon

Jermain Defoe insists he is "ready" if called into the starting line-up by Fabio Capello for tonight's World Cup encounter with Algeria.

England coach Fabio Capello has admitted he is weighing up whether to partner Wayne Rooney with either Emile Heskey or Defoe in Cape Town.

Heskey started alongside the Manchester United star in the opening 1-1 draw with the United States last weekend.

He set up an early goal for skipper Steven Gerrard but was guilty of failing to convert a gilt-edged chance in the second period.

Defoe offers a different option to Heskey with his pace and has a far superior scoring record for his country.

He has netted 11 goals in 40 internationals compared to only seven in 58 appearances from Heskey.

Defoe has also enjoyed an excellent season at Tottenham and played a major role in helping them secure a Champions League spot.

In contrast, Heskey has had to be content with a bit-part role at Aston Villa behind Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew.

Defoe has started only one competitive game under Capello - against Andorra nearly two years ago - but he told FATV: "I'm ready. In training I feel sharp and I'm ready, definitely."

Capello has a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian but Defoe is adamant the Italian has got the right balance with the players.

He said: "Obviously the manager is extremely disciplined but the manager is also cool and he's got good banter.

"He joins in and is always laughing and stuff. But when we're training, we've got to do it right."

Defoe's sentiments are echoed by winger Shaun Wright-Phillips who said: "There's loads of banter, especially around the dinner table when we're chilling and socialising."

The Manchester City winger admits he was surprised to be so heavily involved against the USA, replacing out-of-sorts James Milner after only half an hour on the left flank.

He said: "It was a very good surprise, I couldn't have wanted any more than that.

"It was a step getting here and then another giant step to actually get on the pitch and play for the country in such a big tournament."