Sunderland forward Defoe never gave up hope of England recall

Gareth Southgate appears to have chosen Tottenham star as the successor to Wayne Rooney as England captain

Defoe was asked if he would need to be in the Premier League to be in the England squad, with Sunderland bottom of the table, seven points from safety, with 10 games remaining.

'When I was at Toronto I missed out on the 2014 World Cup. "You probably need to be playing in the Premier League".

"Travelling, getting to the hotel, playing the games".

"Being lucky enough to have experienced it, you just want it more and more".

I've been blessed to go to two major tournaments and I've never given up hope of coming back.

"I hoped [it wasn't the end] but obviously there were times where you did think 'maybe I'm not going to get in".

"Somebody's got to have it. Gareth Southgate's talking about a number of captains, I certainly don't agree with saying we should be changing captains, I don't agree with that at all".

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'I was getting a lot of stick from the lads at the training ground because I've still got the England flag on my boots, ' Defoe said. But it didn't stop me from getting my head down and working hard and hope I got a chance to represent my country again.

"On a personal note if I'm feeling sharp I believe I can score goals".

"You've got to make a captain who's going to be a regular player and go from there".

It has been more than three years since Jermain Defoe pulled on an England shirt, but the 34-year-old never for a second thought that would be his lot.

Sir Geoff Hurst believes England lack a stand-out leader but has dismissed Gareth Southgate's suggestion that the captaincy could be shared. It's always been a life-long ambition and a career ambition to reach the senior squad.

"If I do get an opportunity to go to another major tournament it would be a dream", said Defoe, who has scored 19 times for England. "I know I am ready and the manager thinks that or he wouldn't have included me". Being in the Premier League for the last couple of seasons, it's been one of my goals to play consistently and get into this senior side. "But if you're doing it in a side that's struggling, and have been for some time, it's encouraging and he thoroughly deserves his inclusion".

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