Defoe offered England hope

28 February 2018 12:12:02 EST

Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe says England coach Gareth Southgate has offered him hope he could still make his squad for this summer's World Cup.

The 35-year-old has not featured for the Three Lions since last June's World Cup qualification clash with Scotland and faces some stiff competition in the fight to secure a place on the plane to Russia.

Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott are all hoping to be part of Southgate's attacking options for this summer's tournament, meaning Defoe needs a strong end to the season to prove his worth.

The former Sunderland and Tottenham forward only returned from a lengthy lay-off due to an ankle injury last weekend and will now be looking for an extended run in the Bournemouth team.

Last summer's move to the Vitaly Stadium has not exactly gone to plan, Defoe scoring just three goals in 18 appearances for the Cherries, and he is currently 10/1 to be in the England squad.

Despite his poor return in front of goal and his injury troubles, Defoe claims he has been told by Southgate that he is still very much in his thoughts when it comes to selection for his England squad for the World Cup.

"I spoke to Gareth and he basically said, "The door is always open because you bring so much with your experience, around the place with the lads you bring a lot to the camp. Just get yourself back in the team, get your goals and you know the door is open," Defoe told the Daily Mail.

"Realistically, if I do end up going, it will be my last one. I remember the feeling I got from going to my first - just knowing that I'm at a World Cup, something I've worked so hard to achieve and knowing that I've done it.

"If I can go to this one, it will be special, especially with that group of young players. At a tournament, it's always about the squad. When you are not playing, you've always got to be switched on."

Defoe will hope to get back on the goal trail when Bournemouth travel to Leicester on Saturday.

Defoe is 15/8 to score anytime against the Foxes, while he is 11/1 to score two or more.

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