Defoe: I was right to go

Last updated at 17:05 30 March 2004


Jermain Defoe insists his elevation to the England squad has shown he was right to swap trips to Rotherham and Walsall with West Ham for the Premiership high-life with Tottenham.

The former England Under-21 star is in line to make his senior international debut in tomorrow night's friendly in Sweden just two months after quitting Upton Park.

Defoe, 21, moved across London for £7million, with Bobby Zamora heading in the other direction, but was sniped at by Hammers boss Alan Pardew when it was suggested he could be called up for last month's friendly in Portugal.

Sven-Goran Eriksson eventually elected not to pick Defoe for that match but has now brought him into the international fold.

Right decision

And Defoe, back in with top flight after facing away games against the likes of the Millers and the Saddlers earlier in the season, said his call up has convinced him his decision to move clubs was correct.

"I thought it was the right decision at the time and, now I've got the call up, it does seem the right decision," he said.

"I think I've done really well in the last few games for Spurs and am looking forward to the Sweden game.

"I was speaking to my family on Sunday night saying I was travelling to West Ham away games just a few months ago but now I'm here with England.

"It's happened really quickly and I am delighted."

Defoe is now daring to dream of a magical start to his international career and earning place in Eriksson's Euro 2004 squad.

Spurs support

Defoe's club boss David Pleat has already urged England's Swedish coach to hand Defoe several friendly run-outs to let him prove himself ahead of the summer tournament in Portugal.

And Defoe acknowledged: "The Sweden game is a chance for the young boys and a good opportunity.

"If we get a chance, we'll have to grab it with both hands. Mr Eriksson keeps saying the door is wide open for everyone."

Defoe's career, although still in its formative stages but the pacy front man has frequently been dogged by controversy.

He famously abandoned his first club Charlton to join West Ham.

The deal was settled by a controversial transfer tribunal which the Addicks still feel aggrieved about.

His 10 years at Upton Park was also spiced with animosity as he slapped in a transfer request the day after the club were relegated from the Premiership last May.

The Hammers refused to accept the request but eventually sold him in January, at which point Defoe issued a public apology for asking to quit the club eight months earlier.

Defoe reiterated that sentiment again today as he prepared for the next chapter of his career, saying, "What happened was a mistake. I was young and everything was new to me then."

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