“I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace” Jermain Defoe told reporters at training today.
At 31 years old, the Toronto FC striker was baffled with Roy Hodgson’s decision to select Rickie Lambert and Danny Welbeck ahead of him in the final 23-man roster for England’s trip to Brazil.
“If I had an injury, then I could sort of like, understand it and I could hold my hands up and say, ‘you know, missed that with injury and it’s not meant to be.’” Defoe said.
“In my head, it’s sort of baffling a little bit. I don’t understand it, but it’s important to remain positive. When you’ve been involved in every squad and the World Cup comes around and you’re not in the 23, it’s hard to understand.”
Hodgson’s final World Cup roster released Monday included Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge, along with Welbeck and Lambert at the striker position. He decided to go with youth for many spots, taking Southampton’s young duo Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw as well as Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, and Welbeck.
Defoe was included on the standby list incase any players end up unable to go due to injury or other circumstances. While Defoe did recall chances for Rio Ferdinand and Michael Dawson off the reserve squad during the last World Cup in South Africa, he’s not about to wish injury upon his countrymen.
“There’s an FA Cup final coming up, players can get injured but I don’t want that to happen,” Defoe said. “I don’t wish that on anyone. It’s special for all the young players that have been picked. Being on standby is difficult but at the same time I wouldn’t wish any of the players got injured because if that was me, I would be heartbroken.”
The miss does mean that Defoe will be available for Toronto during the duration of the tournament, and will provide a bit of relief to a squad missing Michael Bradley through World Cup selection.