Jermain Defoe's World Cup Ambitions Means He Will Leave Sunderland if They Get Relegated This Season

Alex Gidden

​Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has all-but conceded that he will quit the club should they get relegated at the end of the season. 

The striker has defied the Black Cats' abysmal season by scoring 14 times in the league, which currently accounts for over half the goals scored by David Moyes' team. 

Defoe's impressive form has led to a recall into Gareth Southgate's England side and as the 34-year-old continues to prove that his advancing years have done little to curb his goalscoring instincts, he has admitted that he is delighted to have been called-up by his country once again and is now targeting the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"There were times where I did think 'maybe I'm not going to get in', and I came out and said it, but it didn't stop me getting my head down, working hard and hoping one day I'd get an opportunity to represent my country again." he told ​Sky Sports.

"I've always known how important it is to play for England from day one. When you've had that experience of going to major tournaments, it's something that you just crave.

"Just going to a major tournament, travelling, getting to the hotels, playing the games - it's something you've always wanted to do from being a kid, growing up watching the great players over the years. 

"Being lucky enough to have experienced it, you just want it more and more. So for me, if I do get an opportunity to go to another major tournament, it'd be a dream."


Having conceded that he still harbours aspirations of playing in another major tournament for his country, Defoe then confessed that his hopes of representing England in Russia next year depend on his form in the Premier League. 

With this in mind, Defoe gave his biggest indication yet that he will leave Sunderland, should they get relegated in May, as playing outside of the top-fight would likely hinder his chances of playing for the Three Lions.

He added: "You have to be realistic. To get into any squad is on merit and you've got to be playing at a level, it's as simple as that.

Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League
Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League

"I'd say I probably need to be playing in the Premier League, but we'll see what happens."

A 0-0 draw with Burnley last weekend means that the Black Cats head into the international break rooted to the foot of the table and and will have to overturn a seven-point gap if they are to save their Premier League status. 

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