Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe received a shock recall to the England squad on Thursday when Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate named his squad for the upcoming friendly against Germany, and 2018 World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
The 34-year-old was certainly helped by the fact that Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are all out because of injury, but he might well have been included anyway following some impressive performances for the Black Cats this season.
Despite the fact that the Mackems lie bottom of the Premier League table and six points from safety, they would be in even bigger trouble had they not had Defoe this term.
The former Tottenham attacker has scored 14 of their 24 top flight goals – from little service – and has shown that he has lost none of his finishing ability even though he isn’t getting any younger.
He has also often played up top on his own under David Moyes, which make his stats for this season even more impressive.
In 26 Premier League appearances, Defoe has netted 14 times from just 38 shots at goal, while he has also shown his awareness of his teammates by providing two assists and 10 key passes too.
The 34-year-old is still in fine physical shape too – shown by the fact that he has completed 14 take-ons for Sunderland this season – while he has also won 20 fouls.
That experience and knowledge can be vital at international level, and Defoe will hope that he gets the opportunity to lead the line for England for the first time since 2013 when the Three Lions line up against Germany and Lithuania later this month.