Toronto FC front man Jermain Defoe insists he will not retire from international football despite being snubbed by manager Roy Hodgson ahead of this summer's World Cup.

The 31-year-old had expected to be included in the squad but has had to settle for a place on the stand-by list.

He has scored 19 goals in 55 games for the Three Lions, and has been consistently selected by Hodgson since the former Liverpool boss' appointment two years ago.

Speaking to reporters following a Toronto training session, Defoe couldn't hide his disappointment but was indignant regarding his international future.

He said: "I'm not going to retire just because someone doesn't put me in a squad. I'm not going to turn my back on my country because I still feel like I have a lot to offer.

"To have played and been involved in the England squad over the years has been great."

He also remains confident that he can return to the fold.

"I think my record speaks for itself, and I'll just continue to work hard and enjoy my football," the former Spurs man continued.

Defoe added that he would be ready if required with the tournament still a month away.

"It's still a long way to go - you never know what's going to happen. People get injured, but at the same time if it doesn't happen then it doesn't happen.

"I wish the team good luck with all the young players that are in the squad, because I've had that experience and been to a World Cup and it's just the best thing ever. It's special."

Hodgson has opted to go for an attacking quartet of Southampton's Ricky Lambert, Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, while West Ham United's Andy Carroll will join the former Tottenham Hotspur man on the stand-by list.

Club manager Ryan Nelsen offered his support to his forward following the news.

"I'm devastated for Jermain. Roy Hodgson picks his team, but it's a surprising decision.

"Obviously I'm gutted for him and I've played against all those guys [in the England squad], and with fifteen minutes left in a World Cup game I know who I'd want the ball to fall to in front of the net."

The former New Zealand captain is now looking forward to being able to select Defoe in upcoming matches.

"Obviously you never like to take benefit from other people's agony, but Jermain stays with us and he's probably going to be extremely motivated to prove people wrong, which is nice for us."

Though he missed more than a month of action through injury, as recently as last week the England international was confident that he would be included in the 23-man group.

"I'm looking forward to it because it's something that I've done before and if you speak to any player who's played at a World Cup they'll tell you it's the pinnacle, so to go to another one would be special", expressed the Reds top-scorer.

He added: "There's no anxiety or nervousness. I've just got to relax because hopefully I've set high standards over my career where the manager must know what I can do.

"At the end of the day, I don't think you should have any negative thoughts because it's out of my hands. I don't pick the squad, he picks the squad."

After Wednesday's Canadian Championship semi-final second leg against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Defoe and Toronto will begin preparations for Saturday's clash with the New York Red Bulls at BMO Field.

Mike Petke's side have picked up five more points than their hosts so far this season, but the Reds have four games in hand.

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Topics:
#Toronto FC
#Jermain Defoe
#England Football
#Football
#MLS