Jermain Defoe is the key man for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this season.
I’d written a piece on the reasons why and what he had to accomplish. Then he scores against Holland and I’ve pressed delete. That.
His first was a beautiful goal. The timing of the run, the ball control, the balance whilst running at pace, the touch to the left to make an angle and finally the neat tuck inside the keeper’s near post. Perfect.
JD lacks nothing in terms of ability. His problem is his brain. He can’t fathom this offside thing, can he. He moves too early and even then does not fill the space in front of him; notice how close he stays to defenders, rather than instinctively moving to the space in between the full back and centre half or between the two central defenders.
This is as much a confidence problem as one of technique. Brash and vulgar, nevertheless on the pitch he moves early because in the back of his mind he wants that extra split second advantage. I’m sure he’s not aware enough to recognise this attitude problem, so Harry needs to work on his technique. I’d suggest he is locked in a darkened room for 48 hours with just a bunch of Michael Owen DVDs. Of his contemporaries, Owen is the most expert at sitting on the defender’s shoulder, there but just out of sight. He gets in front of opponents and times those runs along the back four to perfection. If Defoe gets it right, he has pace in abundance to extract maximum advantage.
Two other things, JD. First, change your default position from ‘blast it’ to ‘think about it’. Take that fraction of moment, set yourself and then push it, side foot, hammer it sometimes, but don’t just whack it.
Second, football is a team game. These people in the admittedly foul white/yellow/grey squiggly-bit-at-the-top shirts are on your side and you are allowed to pass. Unbelievably, some of them are as good as you.
Defoe has been a good prospect for too long. It’s time to step into the spotlight, which after all he adores. Harry will look after him and he looks fighting fit. This is his moment.