Jermain Defoe admits he was unhappy at being left out of the Sunderland side last weekend, but he insists he is not seeking a January transfer.
The 33-year-old arrived at the Stadium of Light in a January deal which saw Jozy Altidore move to FC Toronto, and he is said to be the highest earner at the club on a reported weekly salary of £70,000. But he found himself on the bench for Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge on Saturday, and only appeared as a second half sub in the 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
This loss means the Black Cats are now rooted to the bottom of the table and already five points adrift of safety ahead of the derby match with Newcastle United on Sunday. Defoe admits he was unhappy not to be given a starting role against the Baggies, but he claims any speculation that he may seek a transfer in the New Year if his situation doesn’t improve is inaccurate.
“Obviously, I can understand the manager coming in and saying he’s not too sure if he wants to play 4-4-2. He might want to be more solid in midfield so you don’t concede goals, so we’ll just see what happens,” Defoe said. “But at the age of 33, you want to play football. I didn’t come here to sit on the bench. You want to play football and score goals. I said that from day one.
“I don’t sit there and think: ‘Well, come January I’m going to go.’ I’ve just got to focus on the games, stay positive and, if I play then, I’ve got to do my best, work hard and hopefully score. The manager knows. I’m 33, I want to play games. Yeah, the manager picks the team – you’ve got to respect that – but at the same time, it doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it.”
Meanwhile, after his former assistant at Bolton Wanderers, Phil Brown, turned down the role to continue as manager of Southend United, Allardyce has appointed Paul Bracewell as his assistant manager. The 53-year-old former England midfielder, who played for both Sunderland and their rivals Newcastle, has been promoted from his position as first team coach.