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Roma's chance to bounce back

AS Roma
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By ESPN Staff

Defoe delighted to seal Tottenham return

Jermain Defoe described his return to Tottenham as ''brilliant'' and was delighted with the reception he got from fans at White Hart Lane on Tuesday night.

The striker was paraded in front of supporters ahead of the 4-1 Carling Cup semi-final first leg win against Burnley following his £15million move from Portsmouth, just one year after he left Spurs for regular first-team football.

Robbie Keane and Dmitiar Berbatov were keeping Defoe out of the team when he was sold by then-manager Juande Ramos, but both have now moved on, leaving boss Harry Redknapp in need of reinforcements up front.

Defoe, 26, has played under Redknapp at three other clubs - Bournemouth, West Ham and Pompey - and said he was a major influence in the transfer.

''It's great to be back,'' the England striker told Sky Sports. ''I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's hard to put it into words, it's brilliant. I've been looking forward to it all day.

''A number of things [made me return]. Obviously everyone knows the manager was a major factor. My family still live in London and the fans were a factor too. You can tell by the reception I got.''

Defoe admitted he was loathe to leave White Hart Lane a year ago, and Tottenham fans continued to sing his name while he went on a run of eight goals in his first seven Pompey games.

''I never wanted to leave, but as a professional there comes a time when you think you need to move on,'' Defoe added. ''I did in order to improve my England career. But I didn't want to go in the first place.''

Defoe left Spurs for £9million and although the value of his return means they will be paying more, instalments from previous deals to take players to Fratton Park formed part of the discussions between Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie.

Both clubs were understood to be happy with the transfer, with the structure of the deal meaning Spurs are not planning to announce their signing on the stock exchange, as they are obliged to do with deals worth more than £10million.

Levy has admitted that his hand was forced when he sold Defoe in the first place as the striker was running down his contract, which had 18 months left at the time, and could have eventually left for nothing.

Defoe is expected to be in the squad to face Wigan at the JJB Stadium at the weekend, with Spurs 16th in the Barclays Premier League and desperate to climb the table.

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