England cannot ignore Sunderland star Jermain Defoe, says Hull's Ryan Mason
Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason cannot understand why Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe continues to be overlooked by England.
Ex-Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce opted against including Defoe in his first and only England squad for the World Cup qualifier in Slovakia in August, while Gareth Southgate has also ignored the 34-year-old.
Hull take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light this weekend and Mason spoke glowingly of his former Tottenham team-mate.
When asked if Defoe could still do a job for England, Mason said: “Yeah, definitely.
“He’s an Englishman and he’s scoring goals in the Premier League, so I don’t think it really matters what age you are.
“You can’t ignore that if you’re part of the England set-up.
“Jermain is a fantastic professional and I can’t speak highly enough of what he’s done throughout his career.
“He’s carrying on doing that now at his age. It’s phenomenal.”
Defoe has scored 19 goals in 55 appearances for England since making his debut aged 21 in 2004.
He made his last England appearance in a friendly against Chile in November 2013, and was omitted from Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad despite scoring 18 goals to help Sunderland avoid relegation last season.
The former Tottenham and Portsmouth striker has notched six goals in 11 Premier League appearances for the Black Cats this time round, including two in their last two matches, and Mason said the evergreen forward is a genuine role model.
“He doesn’t drink and he takes his fitness very seriously,” Mason added.
“He trains hard as well. I’m sure he’s got a fantastic diet and he looks after his body.
“It just goes to show what benefits you can have for looking after yourself during your career.
“He’s probably getting three or four years extra out of his game at the highest level that some people might not.
“At his age, he’s still fit as a fiddle. You just don’t see him slowing down and he’s still scoring goals.”