Evergreen Jermain Defoe is determined to carry on playing for as long as he can - even if his mum wants to know when he will call it a day.
The newly-crowned North East Football Writers’ Player of the Year insists he is not planning when he will hang up his boots just yet.
Defoe has been in scintillating form for Sunderland this season, scoring 14 goals as the club once again battles against relegation.
The 34-year-old, described as “priceless” by manager David Moyes seems to be getting better with age with Defoe just one league goal shy of last season’s haul with three months of the season still to play.
Only Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Diego Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have more than him this season.
“My mum keeps asking me,” revealed Defoe when asked about his future plans.
“’How long are you going to play for? When are you going to do your coaching badges?’
“I don’t know to be honest. It’s just like life, I take each day as it comes.
“Even my friends in football, Les Ferdinand and Ian Wright, I always say to them ‘do you miss it?’
“They miss not just the training and the games but just being around the lads in the changing room and stuff like that.
“I’ve always said that it’s important that players try to play as long as they can.
“That’s why I’ve always looked after myself, because I love it.”
Defoe was a January target for West Ham United but Sunderland rejected their £6million bid, with Defoe crucial to the Black Cats’ survival hopes.
Defoe, given a standing ovation as he collected his award at Ramside Hall in front of manager David Moyes, fans and family members, said: “The people here have taken to me, it is special.
“To win any award is good, this one even more so.
“I got a brilliant reception even before I had kicked a ball, I was taken aback by the support when I arrived. The fans have been fantastic.
“To come to a football club like this, I have a special relationship with the fans and that is always nice.
“When you score goals for these fans, it is such a great feeling like when I scored that volley against Newcastle - I was crying like a baby afterwards.
“It was emotional. That is how much it means to me.”