Jermain Defoe is frustrated at being confined to a bit-part role in Sunderland’s struggles, amidst speculation over a January exit.
Defoe has been among the substitutes for Sunderland’s last four games after Dick Advocaat’s inability to incorporate the 33-year-old into his 4-3-3 system eventually led to the former Black Cats boss leaving the striker out of his starting XI.
Advocaat’s successor Sam Allardyce admitted last week that he was already pondering the Defoe conundrum and whether he could switch to an orthodox 4-4-2 to include the England international, yet the ex-Spurs frontman was again on the bench in last weekend’s defeat at West Brom.
Reports earlier this week suggested that Sunderland could ship out Defoe in the January transfer window after similar speculation over his future during the summer.
And Defoe admits he wants to be playing games at the tail end of his career, particularly when he feels he can help Sunderland in their battle against the drop.
“I read the papers and see my name and maybe it’s not a bad thing,” he said.
“Maybe people think that if we’re going to do something special at this club, then you need the players who are going to score goals.
“It’s only normal that people are going to look and think ‘Jermain is the one who should score the goals’.
“But managers play different systems.
“The manager has come in and perhaps he doesn’t want to play 4-4-2 in some games, he wants to flood the midfield and stop conceding goals.
“We’ll see what happens. But at the age of 33, you want to play football.
“I didn’t come here to sit on the bench. I came here to score goals.”