Jermain Defoe says first goal in England's match against Moldova will be vital

 

England striker Jermain Defoe is expecting a tough match against Moldova and believes the first goal will be vital.

The Three Lions begin their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign this Friday and the Spurs forward has warned his team-mates not to take the hosts lightly.

"At this level every game is difficult," he said. "They will make it hard and sit behind the ball and try to frustrate us.

" I have played in a number of games against the so-called smaller countries and it's difficult to get the first goal.

"It will be a difficult game, when we get the first goal we can go and get the second."

England will be without Wayne Rooney for the clash with reports suggesting that Roy Hodgson could elect to play just one striker.

"I have been playing the lone striker for my club and I have enjoyed it," Defoe said.

"To be honest playing with good players it is not really a problem if people get close.

"It we get to control the game in midfield when we get a chance we have to take it."

Defoe remains confident that his new club manager, Andre Villas-Boas, will lead Spurs to success despite failing to oversee a league victory in three attempts so far.

"Obviously as a player when you join a new club it takes a while and when a new manager comes in it takes time, " he added.

"We've got a good squad, a strong squad, and I think we'll be fine.

"It's only normal that a new manager comes in with new ideas and a new formation.

"We're playing a different style this year. It's going to take time but when we adapt it will be fine."

The former West Ham striker ended speculation linking him with a move away White Hart Lane in the transfer window by agreeing a new three-year deal.

"I'm a lot more settled as a player," he added. "You're not sure what's going on, you could get called to say that a fee's been agreed for you to move elsewhere.

"I feel a lot more settled and I'm just getting on with playing well for my club.

"When you know you've actually signed a contract then you can focus and get down to work.

"It feels like it's a new start for everyone and when you do get a start you have to impress the manager to stay in the team."

Turning his attentions back to the England's qualifiers Defoe said he would not take Moldova lightly, adding: "I think it will be a difficult game.

"You look at the fixtures and some might think it should be an easy game. It's important to be professional and patient and it helps when you get an early goal.

"It's going to be difficult and the first 20 minutes will be really important. They're two big games and if we can win them it will be good for everyone."

With striker Andy Carroll also ruled out with a hamstring injury Defoe is the man most likely to lead the front line.

Young forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has denied, however, that the onus will fall only on the creative players to unlock Moldova.

"It's not just a responsibility on us, there's a responsibility on everyone - we're playing for England," he said.

"There's goals all over the team. I think Phil Jagielka scored in the last game.

"We'll be all looking to score. I don't think there's too much pressure on one individual position."

Oxlade-Chamberlain got his first taste of competitive international football during Euro 2012 - when he was a surprise call-up - and he admitted he is still coming to terms with life as an England player.

"I'm not sure yet what to expect," he said ahead of his first qualification match.

"I know it will be tough whoever we come up against. I'm just looking forward to it and if I do get the shout I'll do my best.

"You can never rest on your laurels otherwise I won't get back in these squads. Going to the Euros has made me want to get into as many squads as possible."

PA

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