Jermain Defoe's return to the England squad is a "great story" according to manager Gareth Southgate after the striker scored in Sunday's 2-0 World Cup qualifier win over Lithuania.
Injuries to strikers Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge, allied with his strong scoring form for Sunderland, gave the 34-year-old Defoe a route back into the worldwide fold.
INTRO: Jermain Defoe marked his return to England colours with his first worldwide goal in more than four years as the hosts took a 1-0 half-time lead in their World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
With captain Wayne Rooney's global days looking numbered after he failed to make the squad, and a lack of regular English scorers in the Premier League other than the now injured Harry Kane and Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, Defoe's renaissance is something of a bonus for Southgate.
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"We'd have liked a bit more, but I think really only one team came to win the game and it's always hard to break down a packed defence", manager Gareth Southgate said. "I think we've got to look every time we get together as to who is in form". "He was thrilled to be back involved in the squad and he has enjoyed his week immensely".
Defoe, who has now scored 20 times in 56 appearances for England, has been responsible for more than half of all Sunderland's goals in the Premier League this season.
"I had to keep my emotions in at the beginning with little Bradley with me. He has been absolutely brilliant this week, he sets a great example for a lot of us players".
"But it's the Jermain Defoe of old that you always know", the Liverpool midfielder stressed. "And you bet your bottom dollar he's going to score a goal and he did to get us on the way".
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Two games at home, three away", O'Neill said. "You expect it, obviously within reason", said the former Manchester United player. It's unlikely that Coleman will return in time for the remainders of the qualification campaign.
He added: "He is all about goals but I think his link-up play at times was superb".
Injuries to younger strikers seem to be the best chance of Defoe making the squad for Russian Federation, assuming unbeaten England completes the job in the second half of qualifying.
An extra poignancy was added to the 34-year-old's day when he led England on to the field ahead of captain Joe Hart for kick-off, accompanied by terminally ill five-year-old and Sunderland fanatic Bradley Lowery. She said to me "you've got to do it" and she's always showing me these documentaries and that. The home games are the important ones in terms of direct opposition in positions two and three but. overall, the week has been positive.
Southgate also had words of praise for his young centre-backs John Stones and MIchael Keane, in particular the latter whom he described as "excellent". I want to try to play for as long as I can.
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"I'm just trying to tick every box, making sure I'm doing the right things - cryotherapy, massage, eating the right things.trying to turn vegan". "We were rather arrogant today, which isn't nice, and we made life harder for ourselves than it should have been", Hummels said.