Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Jermain Defoe could still be Cherry picked for World Cup squad - Eddie Howe

Jermain Defoe still has what it takes to force his way back into England's World Cup squad, according to Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

The 35-year-old, who joined the Cherries in the summer following Sunderland's relegation, was one of a number of senior men to miss out on Gareth Southgate's selection for the friendlies with Germany and Brazil.

A youthful England side held their own in goalless draws against both the world champions and the successful South Americans at Wembley.

The likes of 20-year-old forward Tammy Abraham, on loan at Swansea from Chelsea, and Manchester United frontman Marcus Rashford were both given a chance to stake their claim.

But Howe feels Defoe, who has managed just one Premier League goal so far in a season hampered by some fitness issues, retains all the qualities needed to make an impact in Russia.

"You need a mixture of players to go to the World Cup," Howe said at a press conference, as broadcast on the club's official website.

"I am not trying to tell Gareth anything, he will make his own decisions, but I think everyone will recognise that you need leaders and experience, and from Jermain's perspective someone that can change a game, come on late in the game potentially and nick a goal.

"Who better than him? In my opinion...

"Gareth will know that. He will make his decision based on the players he has available and make a best call for England, but I think Jermain will be in his thinking, I have got no doubt about that."

Howe added: "I believe Jermain can make the squad and have an impact in the World Cup, for sure."

The Bournemouth boss, though, accepts Defoe's World Cup ambitions will ultimately be "defined" by his club form over the remainder of the campaign.

"We need to get to know how to get the best out of Jermain in terms of our players getting used to the runs he makes, where he wants the ball," Howe said.

Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook, who captained England under-20s to World Cup success earlier this summer, was drafted into the senior squad by Southgate for the Brazil fixture.

Howe said: "Lewis would have taken the England call-up very much in his stride, a chance to learn and mix it with the best players, which was fully deserved. Hopefully his future is going to be bright.

" He has got to concentrate now on his club football again and work hard to establish himself in our team, continue to learn, but he is certainly going in the right direction."

Bournemouth return to Premier League action at home to Huddersfield on Saturday, looking to build on the win over Newcastle and continue moving up the table.

"We have a really tough December to come, but the team is in good shape," Howe said.

"Our performances have been steadily improving, and so have the results and hopefully that will continue."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph