Transfer news: World Cup 2014 worries almost hit move from Tottenham to Toronto, admits Jermain Defoe
The England striker remains hopeful of inclusion in Roy Hodgson's squad
Tuesday 14 January 2014
Jermain Defoe has admitted he is worried that a move to Major League Soccer side Toronto could damage his hopes of earning a place in England's World Cup squad.
Defoe scored for Tottenham in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday before heading out to Canada for his official unveiling in Toronto, which was packed out with expectant supporters.
Spurs, who are being paid in excess of £8m for the 31-year-old, have agreed an advertising and marketing deal with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – Toronto's owners – and will play a friendly with the club on 23 July.
"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 said.
"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.
"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 Nelsen – 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 added.
"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.
"I feel blessed and honoured. I am looking forward to it so much."
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