Striker Jermain Defoe insists keeping Sunderland up has been more important than England recall

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe
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Jermain Defoe insists he has been so focused on Sunderland’s survival bid that his England hopes have been confined to the far reaches of his mind.

England boss Roy Hodgson is due to announce his squad for Euro 2016 on Monday and Defoe has emerged as a late contender for inclusion after netting 15 Premier League goals this season.

Defoe hasn’t featured for his country for two-and-a-half years, yet injuries to felloe forwards Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has thrust the ex-Spurs frontman into contention.

The 33-year-old would love to conclude a successful campaign by heading to France this summer, but says consideration of an international recall has been on ice while Sunderland have been scrapping for top flight survival.

He said: “I’ve not really thought about it too much. People have come up to me and said you should be going, obviously Sunderland fans!

“But I don’t read anything into it.

“I’ve just focused on playing for Sunderland and because of the situation we’ve been in, I’ve been totally focused.

“I couldn’t get side-tracked by thinking about England.

“I just wanted to be the person that the lads could rely on to score.

“I’ve been delighted with the season, not just on a personal level, collectively the lads have been brilliant.

“We’ve been going into games with so much pressure, but we’ve stood up to it and the lads have worked so hard to do what the manager wanted.

“And because of that, we’ve got the results.”

But if Defoe does miss out on an England place, he insists there will be no regrets after Sunderland’s Player of the Season has done everything possible with the second highest goals return of his career.

“I’m happy with the way I’ve performed this season,” added Defoe to 5Live.

“I’ve ticked every box. I’ve done everything right.

“So if I don’t go, then I can say at least I’ve done everything right.

“And if I do go, it will be a dream because I still feel like I can score goals for England.”