Jermain Defoe admitted he struggled to contain his emotions even before scoring on his return from England exile in Sunday’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Lithuania.
Although Joe Hart wore the captain’s armband, Defoe led the Group F leaders out at Wembley Stadium with five-year-old Bradley Lowery, the cancer-stricken Sunderland fan with whom he has forged a strong bond.
Defoe scored his first goal on the international stage for four years when he broke the deadlock from close-range after good work from Raheem Sterling.
And the 34-year-old forward said he wanted to give his “best mate” the chance to see him find the net again in England colours.
“I had to keep my emotions in the beginning with little Brad with me,” Defoe said after his first England appearance since November 2013.
“It was special just to be back and playing with the lads is a great feeling.”
Defoe has scored 14 Premier League goals for a relegation-threatened Sunderland side and admitted he hopes to stay in Gareth Southgate’s squad as they consolidated top spot in Group F on the road to Russia.
“Obviously I’ve got to go back to my club and make sure we finish the season strong,” he said. “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.”
Defoe’s Sunderland travel to Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, seven points from safety but with a game in hand.
Source: Maxwell Agbashie|ahotoronline.com|Sports