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After Burnley drama, Defoe is fired up for FA Cup clash

PUBLISHED: 12:25 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

JERMAIN Defoe wants to be the main man for Tottenham – particularly in the cups this season. The England striker, who rejoined Spurs for £15million from Portsmouth last week, missed out on two Wembley cup finals last year. Defoe s departure to Fratton Par

JERMAIN Defoe wants to be the main man for Tottenham - particularly in the cups this season.

The England striker, who rejoined Spurs for £15million from Portsmouth last week, missed out on two Wembley cup finals last year.

Defoe's departure to Fratton Park in last season's January transfer window saw him miss Tottenham's Carling Cup triumph over Chelsea in February.

And when Pompey reached the FA Cup final in May the striker was ineligible, having already played for Spurs in the world's oldest cup competition.

Now, exactly a year later, Spurs are on track for two Wembley appearances after last night's thrilling Carling Cup semi-final second leg drama at Turf Moor.

On Saturday, Harry Redknapp's side play Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford - and Defoe is available for both competitions this time round.

"I've always said things happen for a reason," Defoe told Ham&High Sport. "I truly believe that for some reason I was not meant to play in the finals last year and, hopefully, I can this time round.

"I missed both last year, which is crazy really. If I can play in one this year, for me, it would be great and obviously for the football club it would be fantastic."

The former West Ham striker, who is playing under Redknapp for the third time at a different club, has always been motivated by winning silverware. "That's what it's all about in football - winning trophies," said Defoe, who scored Spurs' equaliser on his home debut in the 1-1 draw against Portsmouth on Sunday.

"From when you are a little kid you play football to win trophies and I believe I can definitely do that here."

Indeed, the 26-year-old is delighted to be back at the Lane for a second time. "My heart is here and I didn't really want to leave," said Defoe, who had found himself down the pecking order behind Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Darren Bent under Juande Ramos.

"I'm the type of person who looks forward to training and getting on the pitch and to banter with the lads. Towards the end I had mixed feelings.

"I thought there must have been something wrong because I always loved playing football. That is why I moved on - to be happy again and play football.

"When I left [for Portsmouth], I still kept my house in London. So as you can imagine I would bump into Spurs fans and they would say things like, 'We want you to come back' and, 'Why did you have to go?'

"When I first came here from West Ham I said Spurs are a massive club. And the club is moving in the right direction. There is a new training ground and stadium on the way, so there is a lot to look forward to."

Defoe is also hoping his move back to the Lane will kick-start his England career. "I always thought I could take my chance with England," he said. "Hopefully, I can kick on. I'm 26 and I'm hitting my peak. I want to score goals and stay in the England squad and make the team. I believe if I play well for Spurs I will get my chance. Mr Capello is a fantastic boss and you will always get your chance if you are playing well."

Despite Sunday's draw against his former club, Defoe is confident Spurs can pull away from the relegation battle. "I think if you look at the squad there are some fantastic players here, a lot of internationals," he said. "But the league is really tight this year.

"There are a lot of good teams fighting to move up the table. It's been frustrating for the club and the players because they have underachieved in the league. I just want to come in and help the club push on up the table. I believe we will push up the league. But I think next season will be a big one for us."

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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