Jermain Defoe’s odds on making England’s World Cup squad have been cut after his successful return to the Three Lions set-up.
Defoe claimed his 20th international goal, over three years after his last strike, when he opened the scoring in the 2-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday.
The fact new England boss Gareth Southgate started the Sunderland striker in his first competitive World Cup qualifier – shows Defoe that he has a real chance of making the squad next summer.
“He was thrilled to be back involved in the squad, I think he has enjoyed his week immensely,” said Southgate.
“He’s been a good senior professional to have around the team, both in terms of the way he’s trained, his professionalism, which has been great for some of the younger players to see, and his finishing in training and then today, which we expected really.
“I would have put my house on him scoring at some stage today, so I think he’s had a really positive impact on everybody.”
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Defoe himself is happy to be back for England and said: “It was special just to be back and playing with the lads is a great feeling.
“Obviously I’ve got to go back to my club and make sure we finish the season strong. I’ll keep my head down and see what happens.
“It’s good to be back. Just to win the game was important and we did that. It’s hard to put in words really to be back.”
He is now rated at 4/1 to make Southgate’s squad for the finals in Russia next summer, and we spoke to BetVictor’s head of ante post football Michael Triffitt.
“Although Defoe only got his chance due to injuries to other more influential players, he managed to find the net and at least showed he can still compete at International level,” he told TheGamblingTimes.com.
“Realistically he still remains behind a number of more established candidates but with injury always playing an important role in who actually makes the 23 he has to remain on the list of possibilities.
“Every Tournament we see so called certain selections either fall out of form or succumb to injury preventing them from competing so perhaps at 4/1 Defoe has a sporting chance of making the trip to Russia.”
The Sunderland striker is also 4/1 from 8/1 to be England’s leading marksman in qualifying.