The MLS season kicked off this past weekend and Jermain Defoe doesn't think that his move to the league has dented his chances of making the England squad for this summers World Cup in Brazil in any way.
Defoe was speaking to reporters after his first full training with Toronto FC and had a lot to say about his readiness for the MLS campaign, but also mentioned that he hopes to play himself into England coach Roy Hodgson's plans for June and July:
“It’s at the back of my mind,” Defoe said about the World Cup.
“First and foremost, it’s important to concentrate on your club and make sure your form’s good. As a forward, you get judged on scoring goals. That’s on my mind first and foremost and then we’ll see what happens with the World Cup.”
Defoe had his first full training session after head coach Ryan Nelson - ex-Blackburn Rovers - said he wanted to ease his star players like Defoe and Michael Bradley into training and not work them too hard.
But the striker says that he wants to be out training and playing on the practice field with his new teammates as much as possible.
“I mentioned it before, I was 100 percent, so there’s no problems,” Defoe said. “Obviously it helps, the more you play with the players, it helps going into the season. Hopefully, in training, they will understand how I play and vice versa and it’ll be OK.”
One change that Defoe will have to take some time getting used to is the amount of artificial turf he will be playing on in North America.
Toronto's training facility is made up of a 3G like material and his first game - against the Seattle Sounders - next weekend will also be played on the turf, not grass like he is used to in the EPL.
“It’s not something I’m used to, to be honest,” Defoe mentioned of the surface. “Even training today, it’s the first time in years where I’ve actually trained on this kind of surface.
It’s something you’re going to have to get used to and you can’t really make excuses because it’s the same for both teams, same for all the players.
"I suppose it’s just part and parcel of traveling away and playing on these kinds of pitches.”
Defoe has taken a gamble moving to MLS in a World Cup year and he is desperately hoping that it will pay off.
Former Spurs teammate Robbie Keane made the change and kept his spot in the Republic of Ireland national side, so Defoe will be wishing for the same.