Jermain Defoe hails Andre Villas-Boas influence following stagnation under Harry Redknapp

Defoe firing having spent much of last season on the bench

Jermain Defoe has hailed the influence of Andre Villas-Boas in reviving his career at Tottenham.

Defoe's future at White Hart Lane had been in doubt after he spent most of last season on the bench under Harry Redknapp, but Villas-Boas managed to persuade the striker to stay.

The 35-year-old has shown supreme faith in Defoe, starting the striker in all but one of Tottenham's Barclays Premier League games, and the move has paid off, with Defoe scoring 10 goals in all competitions so far.

The former West Ham man has looked as deadly as ever for Spurs this term and his new-found confidence has enabled him to break back in to the England team.

Defoe has been amazed by the level of detail Villas-Boas puts in to his preparations and thinks his improvement has been largely down to the arrival of Spurs' new manager.

"He's a great manager, one of the best," Defoe told Press Association Sport at The Prince's Trust Sport Youth Forum yesterday.

"He is a great manager, he has great ideas. Training is always good. It always has a purpose. There is always a different approach to every game and you can tell that he studies every team we play.

"In pre-season he said to me 'I want you to stay at the club. I want you to sign a new contract. And I want you to score goals for me' so it's good.

"Even away from football he is a nice guy. An honest guy. All the players have said it."

Defoe's love for Villas-Boas is certainly not unrequited. The Portuguese this week claimed Defoe is so good that he is on a par with £50million rated hitman Radamel Falcao, with whom Villas-Boas worked at FC Porto.

"That's such a nice thing for a manager to say because it does give you confidence," Defoe added.

"When a manager says that about you, you just want to do well for him and achieve something special."

Should Spurs beat Fulham and other results go their way, they could be joint third in the Premier League by tomorrow night.

The 35-year-old's reign has not been all plain sailing, however. His team were booed off against West Brom and Norwich after they failed to win in their first three matches and Villas-Boas was jeered when he brought Defoe off for Emmanuel Adebayor against Wigan.

Having lasted less than nine months in charge of Chelsea, many had started to doubt whether Villas-Boas was cut out for Premier League management, but Defoe has no doubts about his manager's desire to succeed.

"When he came in people were asking questions because of what happened at Chelsea but that's only normal," Defoe said.

"It's part and parcel of being a manager.

"When people doubt you I think that's a good thing.

"Then you think 'oh yeah, I will prove you wrong'.

"He is at Tottenham now. The lads love him and I think we will have a good season."

Defoe's hat-trick against Maribor three weeks ago moved him above Teddy Sheringham in to eighth in Tottenham's all-time top scorer list.

When asked whether he thought he could beat his record of scoring 24 goals in one season - a feat that would put him fifth in the all-time list - he said: "Yes. I have always wanted to get 10 before Christmas and this year I have because I have been playing games."

Defoe, a West Ham player for five years, returned to Upton Park yesterday to attend The Prince's Trust Sport Youth Forum - an event in which he was grilled by youngsters involved in the charity, which helps disadvantaged young people try to get back to work.

"Creating opportunities for young people is so important at the moment," said Defoe, who is an ambassador for The Prince's Trust.

"These youngsters are all making steps to change their lives - it is very inspiring. I had a great time hearing from the young people and I hope that I offered them all some advice which will help them on their journeys."

:: The Prince's Trust Sport Youth Forum took place at West Ham United Football Club in partnership with the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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.

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there