England boss Roy Hodgson has told Jermain Defoe he could still feature in this summer's World Cup finals even though he is about to move to Toronto.
Hodgson has also insisted that Ashley Cole could play a key role in Brazil despite the left-back's lack of recent first-team opportunities at Chelsea.
I know what Jermain can do and we will pick him on those merits.Roy Hodgson
Defoe has agreed to move to the MLS side FC Toronto from Spurs at the end of this month and had expressed a fear that his decision to leave the Premier League could affect his chances of winning a place in Hodgson's World Cup squad.
However, Hodgson has allayed those fears, by saying of Defoe: "He will be playing but he will be playing in a league a long way from the top league over here but that won't change a thing as far as I'm concerned.
"I know what Jermain can do and we'll pick him on those merits. If he doesn't get picked it will be because I feel on this occasion there wasn't space because I preferred other players.
"When Jermain comes with an England team I know he is a very reliable player and he has been a wonderful servant during the two years I have been with England."
England can be backed at 1/12 to be eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup, while Defoe is available at 1212/1 to be his country's top scorer at the tournament.
On Cole, Hodgson added: "Full-backs are like goalkeepers - either you play or someone takes your place. We know what Ashley can do, we know how fit he keeps himself, we know how experienced he is.
"So I wouldn't write Ashley Cole out of any plans simply because he wasn't playing in his club team. But, like anyone else, the competition for his place gets stronger all the time and I will have a decision to make."
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