Bournemouth's Jermain Defoe still hopeful of England World Cup place
Jermain Defoe has not given up his dream of playing for England at this summer's World Cup.
The 35-year-old came off the bench to rescue a late point for Bournemouth at Watford on Saturday with just his fourth goal of the season.
A serious ankle injury curtailed Defoe's campaign and he has not started a game for the Cherries since December.
That saw him omitted from Gareth Southgate's last England squad for the recent friendly double-header against Netherlands and Italy.
He sealed a Three Lions recall under Southgate last season and kept his place for the World Cup qualifiers late last year.
Now, though, he faces a battle to convince the England boss he is worthy of a place on the plane to Russia -- but the veteran is not giving up just yet.
"I came here [to Bournemouth] as an England player,'' said Defoe.
"I worked so hard to get back in the squad and signed here as an England player. I have missed the last three squads because I am not playing.
"I spoke to the manager a few months ago and it's as simple as that -- you have got to be playing and scoring goals and see what happens.
"It's not up to me, it's up to the manager. We will see what happens. I understand I have got to be playing, you can't just assume you're going to get in the squad because of what you have done over the years.
"You have got to be playing, you have got to be performing and you have got to be scoring goals. Once I start doing that I will feel I'm ready to go now.
"At a tournament it is not just about the players who start, it's about the squad. It has been a stop-start season for me but I can't sulk. You have to be professional and come on and make an impact.
"Even if you are only on for two minutes you have to score a goal to help your team.
"If you are picked in the summer to make an impact then you have got to do that. Even if you come on for 30 seconds you are playing for your country.''
Defoe has come off the bench in four of the last five Bournemouth games but does not intend to become a "super-sub" for Eddie Howe's side.
"No one wants to sit on the bench,'' he added.
"If you get to the point where you accept sitting on the bench then you shouldn't be playing. I know there is still a lot more goals in me.
"You always have to wait for the opportunity and when you get one you have to take it and try to get yourself back in the team, it's as simple as that.
"Normally at this stage you want to have scored 15 or 20 goals and if you don't do that you are not going to be happy.
"For me it has been frustrating because it has been stop-start and I have been injured. If I can get a run of games I am going to score goals because it's something I have always done. It won't be something new.''