Sunderland manager Gus Poyet sees no reason why Jermain Defoe cannot force his way into the England reckoning after the striker earned his side a precious point at Swansea.
Defoe’s solo effort, driving forward from just inside the Swansea half to fire into the bottom corner, means he has already scored two goals in three Premier League outings since his high-profile move to Sunderland in the transfer window.
His expert marksmanship could prove crucial in the Black Cats’ fight to beat the drop, even though Ki Sung-yueng’s headed goal for Swansea denied the visitors a three-point haul.
The 32-year-old Defoe may have thought that he would end his career with 55 caps, but Poyet believes differently.
“We are a different team with him,” he said. “When you’ve got a player sooner or later that you know is going to score it makes the rest of the team believe that you’ve got a chance to win football games.
“When you pick strikers for the national team, you pick those in form and scoring goals. We have seen Harry Kane, he is an obvious choice, and Jermain has a chance if Rooney plays in midfield. But that is up to Roy [Hodgson].”
Swansea had enjoyed the better of the opening half until Defoe struck just seconds after the hosts had thought they had scored. Ki turned in Jonjo Shelvey’s free-kick from close range but was ruled to have been just offside.
As Swansea absorbed the blow, Defoe broke away to easily beat Federico Fernandez and find the bottom corner of Lukasz Fabianski’s net.
“I was told Ki’s hairline was offside for the goal, although I am not sure that is part of the rules,” joked Swansea manager Garry Monk. “Our cameras here mean you do not get close ups of things like that so I will need to have another look, but I will have to tell Ki to cut his hair.
“It’s one of those where sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. We have had a few things like that this season.”
But Ki, making his first Swansea appearance since returning from the Asian Cup, came back to punish the side he played for on loan last season, by grabbing the equaliser.
Kyle Naughton’s cross was not cut out and the South Korean’s diving header proved too good for Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon to stop.
There was one late chance for substitute Nelson Oliveira to win the game for the home side, but Pantilimon made a sharp stop at his near post in stoppage time to ensure that Sunderland remain four points clear of the bottom three.
Swansea (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor (Rangel 67); Ki, Cork; Dyer, Shelvey (Oliveira 78), Barrow (Montero 46); Gomis.
Sunderland (4-1-3-2): Pantilimon; Reveillere, Vergini, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Bridcutt; Alvarez (Johnson 64), Larsson, Gomez; Graham (Fletcher 76), Defoe.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Man of the match: Defoe (Sunderland)
Match rating: 5/10Reuse content