If there was any question about Jermain Defoe's status as England's best natural finisher, he ended the debate with
his devastating five-goal performance for Tottenham against Wigan.
It was typical of his single-minded approach to the game
that he said afterwards he was disappointed not to get a double hat-trick!
I'm sure his
place in England's World Cup squad is safe, but you wonder whether
Fabio Capello really rates him.
Certainly, he has not got the amount of playing time his
goalscoring record - five in as many games, all from the bench - merits.
It may only have been a friendly, but I was surprised to see
Darren Bent start ahead of Defoe against Brazil.
It is a year since the Tottenham man last started an England game,
and he would have been desperate to prove he is more than just an impact sub.
Bent, on the other hand, will only go to the World Cup if
there is a spate of injuries, so it was a strange decision to pair him with
Defoe's main job
is to score goals, but I do not think he is one of those strikers who
contributes little else - a charge that can be levelled at Michael Owen, whose
World Cup hopes continue to fade.
diminutive stature means he is not a big aerial threat, but he is deceptively
good with his back to goal. He has good vision, can hold the ball up and links
He is a clever, sharp player so I see no reason why he and
Wayne Rooney cannot form a productive partnership. However, they need playing time
together between now and the World Cup.
are on hold until the spring, and Defoe's
immediate task is to help consolidate Tottenham's
position in the top four.
The Big Four have been in position for so long now, it is
hard to imagine anyone breaking their monopoly at the top, but it has to happen
at some stage and Liverpool's awful recent form gives Spurs a big chance.
- - -
The team that impressed me most over the weekend were Chelsea. They showed Liverpool how to deal with an injury crisis by crushing
Wolves with Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Deco and Ricardo
Carvalho all missing.
People might say 'it
was only Wolves', but those are the kinds
of games that can trip you up - Burnley beat Manchester United, Sunderland beat
Arsenal and Chelsea lost to Wigan earlier this season.
On Saturday, they exerted complete control from the first
whistle, and fringe players like Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou stepped into
the breach admirably.
We also saw a brief cameo from young Gael Kakuta, the player
whose arrival from Lens led to the transfer ban, which has been temporarily
I feel sorry for the lad, because he was just 16 when he moved
clubs and is not responsible for the controversy surrounding him.
He got rave reviews on Saturday, but if people expect
miracles from him every week then they will end up disappointed.
Despite making a bright start to life in the Premier League,
he will take time to develop and I hope he is give the time and space to
improve as a player.