Jermain Defoe remains hopeful of World Cup 2014 inclusion despite switching Tottenham for Toronto

The striker says the most important thing is to be playing regularly and scoring goals

Jermain Defoe admitted there are concerns a move to Major League Soccer side Toronto FC could damage his hopes of earning a place in England's World Cup squad, but felt he could not turn down the chance to showcase his talents to a new audience.

The 31-year-old had been the subject of interest from the Canadian franchise for some time, and on Friday morning Tottenham confirmed the forward was leaving.

The deal - said to be around £8million which also includes an advertising and marketing agreement with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, who are Toronto's owners, and a friendly match on July 23 - will be effective from February 28.

Defoe scored for Spurs in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday before heading out to Canada for Monday's official unveiling at Real Sports Bar & Grill, which was packed out by expectant supporters.

Despite the warm reception at the Toronto venue, it remains to be seen how this move away from the Barclays Premier League will affect Defoe's future international ambitions.

Former Tottenham captain Robbie Keane has remained a regular with the Republic of Ireland since moving to Los Angeles Galaxy, but David Beckham found selection harder to earn after he swapped England for the United States in 2007.

"I have to be honest, I did think about the chances of going to the World Cup. It is always important to play well for your club, " Defoe told the news conference.

"Having played in a World Cup before it is just the greatest thing in the world, it is a dream come true, that is why you play football, to play in a major tournament and at that level.

"Yeah, it did cross my mind, but at the same time I believe the MLS is going to be fantastic for me, and it is important to be playing.

"To get into any World Cup or European Championship squad for your country, it is based on merit, which means you have to play well, be fit and ready.

"The most important thing for me is playing football, scoring my goals and doing well for the team. Hopefully I can be on the plane.

"I have played in the Premier League all of my career, scored a lot of goals and at the age of 31 I would like to think the England manager and everyone in England knows what I can do, can bring for the country, and if selected, I will be ready."

Toronto have also brought in United States international Michael Bradley as manager Ryan Nelson - the New Zealand defender who played at Spurs for a spell in 2012 after leaving Blackburn - looks to build a squad capable of challenging for the MLS championship.

"In life when a massive opportunity comes your way, sometimes it is not always easy, leaving your home town and the club you have been with for nine years - to come here and have a reception like that is such a great feeling. I feel at home already," Defoe said.

"I come here and know I will give something, not for the wrong reasons, but to do my best for the club to win trophies.

"It is important for me that I still feel sharp and strong.

"I will give 100 per cent every game, work hard like I have always done and hopefully bring a lot of goals to the team, to win trophies (because) that is what it is about."

Defoe continued: "I cant wait to get started and to showcase my skills in a different league.

"For me it it is a dream come true because it is always something I wanted to do (play in the MLS), even before I was aware of the interest (from Toronto).

"I feel blessed and honoured. I am looking forward to it so much."

Spurs have at least a further eight fixtures to play before Defoe's scheduled departure.

He said: "It is a fantastic journey that I am looking forward to, but I understand I have to go back to Tottenham and continue to work hard for the team, but that is in my nature.

"When I actually come to Toronto and put the shirt on, it will be nothing, but hard work and dedication."

PA

Video: Defoe explains MLS switch  

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing