Sunderland's Defoe delighted by unexpected England recall
REUTERS - Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is delighted by his call up to England's squad for next week's friendly against Germany and a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania and admitted he thought his international career was over.
With injuries to Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane, England manager Gareth Southgate recalled the 34-year-old, who last appeared for his country in late 2013.
"Obviously delighted I'm back in there," Defoe, who has scored 29 league goals for Sunderland since the start of 2015-16 season, told the club website (www.safc.com).
"If I am being totally honest, I thought I would have had a chance last season, finishing the third-highest English goalscorer behind (Harry) Kane and (Jamie) Vardy.
"But it wasn't meant to be and then I started to think: 'You know what? Maybe it's just not going to happen'. But I didn't really complain or anything."
Defoe, who is one of three forwards selected by Southgate along with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Leicester City's Vardy, said he was looking forward to meeting up with the new-look side.
"It'll probably be a weird feeling, because it's been a long time," he added.
"It'll be a different squad compared to when I was there. I've always looked forward to playing for England. It's the pinnacle. You don't get any higher than that."
England play world champions Germany in a friendly in Dortmund next Wednesday and Lithuania at Wembley in the qualifier on March 26.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)