New personal best puts Defoe on trail of Tottenham greats

ROMAN Pavlyuchenko may have stolen the show at the weekend with his double strike, but Jermain Defoe was quietly celebrating a personal milestone on Saturday. The England striker scored his 23rd goal of the season against Blackburn...

By Ben Pearce

ROMAN Pavlyuchenko may have stolen the show at the weekend with his double strike, but Jermain Defoe was quietly celebrating a personal milestone on Saturday.

The England striker scored his 23rd goal of the season against Blackburn, eclipsing his previous best tally for a campaign - and with a minimum of nine games left to play, depending on Spurs' progress in the FA Cup.

That puts him on the trail of legendary Tottenham marksmen in the club's record books.


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Dimitar Berbatov may not exactly be a 'legend' at White Hart Lane these days, but the talented Bulgarian hit 23 goals in both of his seasons in N17 before his unpopular move to Old Trafford.

Having already equalled that total, Defoe is now hunting Jurgen Klinsmann's 29-goal total from 1994/95 - the best return by a Spurs player in the last 15 years.

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The 27-year-old also has the chance to become the first Tottenham player to hit 30 goals since the birth of the Premier League - Gary Lineker hit 35 in the old Division One in 1991-92.

However, he is unlikely to match Spurs' all-time record for goals scored in a season - Clive Allen struck 49 in 1986-87.

Defoe had set his previous personal best in the 2003/04 season, when he scored 22 times in 37 games.

Then 21 years old, he scored 15 times in 22 appearances for West Ham before his January move to Tottenham, and then registered seven times in his first 15 matches for his new side in the second half of the season.

Defoe equalled that total in the following campaign, this time in 44 Spurs matches, but he has failed to reach that target again in the past five years - until now.

The England international's goal on Saturday was his 23rd in 35 appearances, not including the three goals he has struck in five games for England since mid-August, and he is hitting the net at a rate of 0.65 goals per game for Tottenham.

His tally includes hat-tricks away at Hull City and Leeds, as well as his famous five-goal haul in the 9-1 demolition of Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane.

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