With all the adulation Clint Dempsey has received during his recent surge, it’s easy to forget that’s another former Tottenham attacker is also scoring at a better than goal-per-90 rate. That Jermain Defoe hasn’t played since the fourth week of the season has helped keep him from competing with Dempsey’s feat, but now having recovered from his hamstring injury, Defoe may be ready to resume his initial, torrid pace.
The aspiring England international declared himself “100 per cent” at training on Wednesday. From reporting by the Canadian Press:
“It’s been really frustrating because when you get off to a good start, you just want it to continue as long as possible …”
“But it happens. It’s football, you get little niggles. Luckily enough it wasn’t something that was too serious. It was just a case of resting and doing your rehab stuff. But yeah it feels fine now. I feel 100 per cent. I’ve worked really hard. So maybe I’ll come back stronger than I was before, which is important for the team.”
Stronger than before would be a scary notion for Major League Soccer, with Defoe already having scored three times in his first 242 MLS minutes. A brace in his debut performance in Seattle hinted at the impact the 31-year-old can have in North America, with only Real Salt Lake (in Defoe’s third game) having successfully kept him off the scoresheet.
After Toronto lost two in a row before its bye week, Defoe’s return is as needed as it is welcomed, yet his is not the only improvement the Reds might see Saturday against New England. Michael Bradley, who underwent a foot procedure last week, is expected to be better, while Jonathan Osario, Alvaro Rey, Dwayne De Rosario and Doneil Henry are all approaching full health. Osario is back training, while the other three are “very close,” according to Nelsen.
Regardless, the hobbled team that lost to Colorado and FC Dallas will get a boost Saturday at BMO Field. With Defoe back to full strength, Toronto will have all of its high-priced talents at Nelsen’s disposal.