Defoe considered exit
Jermain Defoe has admitted he thought about leaving Tottenham in January after becoming frustrated.
Last Updated: 08/03/11 9:13am
Jermain Defoe has admitted he became so frustrated with his lack of opportunities at Tottenham earlier this season that he thought about leaving in January.
The England international has been hampered by injuries this term but he has also struggled to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the starting XI when fit.
The arrival of Rafael van der Vaart last summer has prompted manager Harry Redknapp to tinker with his previous 4-4-2 formation in the majority of games, employing the Dutch playmaker in a support role behind a lone striker.
With Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko providing more of a physical presence up front, Defoe has had to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench in many key encounters.
He hopes to line up against AC Milan in Wednesday's midweek UEFA Champions League clash as Spurs look to protect a 1-0 advantage and make it through to the quarter-finals.
Defoe boosted his chances of being selected with a stunning brace in Sunday's 3-3 draw at Wolves but knows he is not guaranteed a place.
And the 28-year-old admits his slide down the White Hart Lane pecking order has been as annoying as when he decided to leave Tottenham for Portsmouth in 2008, before returning 12 months later.
He told the Daily Mail: "It's been hard. You start to think: 'What am I doing here?' I'm used to playing in big games.
"I've played in big games for my clubs and for my country.
"It'll be a tough game (against Milan). I hope I'm playing and if I can score and win the game then it'll be great.
"But I remember playing against Charlton (in the FA Cup in January) and scoring two goals, then the next weekend I missed out.
"I was upset about that because once I start scoring I'm confident and I have the feeling I know I'll score in the next game. We played Manchester United and I thought, 'I'm playing', but I didn't start.
"I don't think the club would have allowed me to go on loan. But it was like when I decided to leave here and went to Portsmouth because I got to a situation where I thought: 'I'm not sitting on the bench.'"
Hard to take
Defoe concedes it was difficult to sit out the first leg against Milan, when Peter Crouch scored the only goal, after missing the group games due to injury.
"It was hard, because it was a big game," he said.
"I was looking forward to this season, especially when you feel you contributed last season, finishing fourth and scoring a lot of goals.
"When you eventually get there you want to be playing, because you worked hard to get the club there in the first place.
"The way the manager's gone this season, we've gone one up front with someone just behind.
"It's difficult. I missed all the group games when I was injured, so you've just got to watch the lads do well."
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