Defoe in the running for World Cup spot, says Southgate

The England manager will consider taking the Sunderland striker to Russia if he maintains his goalscoring form

Jermain Defoe has every chance of being selected for England's World Cup squad in 2018, says manager Gareth Southgate.

Defoe, 34, scored in England's 2-0 World Cup qualification win over Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday, his first international appearance since November 2013.

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Despite his age, Southgate insists the Sunderland striker will be considered if his side make it to Russia, as long as he is still fit and firing.

"We have got to look every time we get together as to who is in form," Southgate told reporters when asked about Defoe's World Cup chances.

"I don't know if we can have a distinct pecking order because players that are playing well deserve the opportunity.

"If we are going to be successful, we have got to have that competition for places.

"The reality is we will always lose players to injury, we have never been able to field or pick a full cohort, so it is really important that we are able to call upon the likes of Jermain and for him to have the impact he had in a game like this one.

"But if he is scoring goals in the Premier League and playing as well as he has this season, then there is absolutely no reason why he couldn't [go to the World Cup]."

Southgate added: "It is a great moment for him. He was thrilled to be back involved in the squad. I think he has enjoyed his week immensely.

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"I'm pleased for the two lads who have got the goals, a great story for Jermain - I would have put my house on him scoring at some stage - and I felt Jamie Vardy added something to us."

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