Defoe can be Spurs’ new Lineker or Allen, says boss Pleat

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 04 Feb 2004

LONDON: New Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe is a classic goal poacher in the mould of prolific former Spurs forwards Gary Lineker and Clive Allen, caretaker manager David Pleat said yesterday. 

The 21-year-old Defoe joined the English Premier League club from West Ham United for around £7mil on Monday. 

“We have a mixture of strikers at the moment who have different qualities,” Pleat told a news conference. 

“With Jermain we have in our midst a wonderful potential poaching goalscorer. 

“Some games are very tight, it’s that one goal that gives you a base.  

“It is in those games when that striker’s instinct, a half-chance out of nothing ... that’s the quality this player has – to turn tight games to our advantage and take the pressure off the team.” 

Defoe was West Ham’s top scorer last season when they were relegated from the Premier League, and has scored 15 in the current campaign despite not playing since December after picking up his third red card. 

“I can’t think of a British striker of his age whose done so much at such a high level,” Pleat said. 

“His goals record for a 21-year-old is quite exceptional and we hope he is going to have a fine career at Tottenham.” 

Defoe admitted he had been wrong to hand in a transfer request days after West Ham were relegated but said he had always given his best for the club. 

“It was a mistake but I’m still young and I’ve learned from that,” he said. 

“It was a difficult time but I just said sorry and tried to get my head down, train and play football. Every time I’ve played for West Ham I’ve worked hard for the team. 

“Now I’m looking forward to meeting up with Freddie (Kanoute) again,” he added, following his former West Ham strike partner’s move to Tottenham last year. 

Pleat said he was still hopeful of signing Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson at the end of the season after a deal fell through on Monday, the last day of the transfer window. 

The teams had agreed a fee but the Premier League would not sanction the arrangement by which Spurs were to pay now but allow Robinson to continue to play for the relegation and administration-threatened club until the end of the season. 

“I would expect Robinson to join us in the summer,” said Pleat. – Reuters 

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