Jermain Defoe is 27 years old today. It’s the point of a footballer’s career when they really should be at their peak and this certainly seems to be the case with our striker.

When Defoe burst onto the scene whilst at loan on Bournemouth, he hit 18 goals in 29 games. He looked like the same sort of natural goalscorer as Michael Owen and it was assumed that he would hit similar heights in his career.

We’ve yet to see this become a reality. The most league goals that Defoe has ever scored since that spell at Bournemouth, was 13 for Tottenham in 2004/05. In that season he also scored 9 goals in cup competitions to take his total tally to 22. This remains the only season that Defoe has scored 20+ goals.

Of course a large proportion of Defoe’s career has been spent on the bench at White Hart Lane, which has obviously had a negative impact on his goals per game ration. However, it should be remembered that had Defoe was originally preferred to Keane by Martin Jol and was only put on the bench when the Irishman had outscored him from his cameo appearances. As in most walks of life, you can very much make your own luck in football.

These days there’s no room for excuses. Defoe seems very much the first choice for Harry Redknapp, despite Keane wearing the captain’s armband. He’s repaid the faith put in him by getting off to a flying start this season, both for club and country.

If this form continues then there’s every reason to believe that this could be Defoe best season ever. He looks stronger these days and his all-round game looks better, but he will still be judged by his goalscoring exploits. It’s time to break that 20+ barrier again…

Defoe hardly needs more motivation than the fact that Fabio Capello is such a big fan. Barring a complete loss of form or injury, Defoe is assured of a World Cup berth and at this stage looks to have every chance of forcing his way into the team. The future’s in your hands Jermain and it’s looking decidedly rosy.

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