David Moyes has stressed the importance of striker Jermain Defoe to Sunderland’s hopes of remaining in the Premier League.
The Black Cats boss spoke out after Defoe won and converted a penalty as Sunderland claimed a 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton, with Jay Rodriguez hitting a late equaliser for the hosts.
The 33-year-old has now found the net in his last six Premier League away games, leading to calls for his first international action since 2013 when former Sunderland chief Sam Allardyce names his first England squad for next week’s World Cup Group F qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday evening.
Allardyce kept Sunderland in the top flight last term thanks as much as anything else to Defoe’s 18 goals in all competitions across the campaign.
And, while Moyes would be happy to see Defoe handed a Three Lions recall, he spoke of how the player will again play a huge part in his plans on Wearside in the battle to avoid relegation this term.
He said: “We really need his goals, he took his penalty kick really well and earned it as well. We need him to score.
“He’s a really good finisher, he’s been carrying a bit of a thigh strain so we just need to check to see he’s okay.”
Punters may wish to use their free bet to back Defoe to help fire Sunderland to another season in the Premier League this term.