Defoe never doubted his class

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Jermain Defoe never doubted he had the class to be an effective performer for England.

Defoe has spent most of his career on the fringes of the international scene and the vast majority of the 26-year-old's 35 caps have come as a substitute, none of which include an appearance at a major championship.

"I didn't doubt myself because I didn't feel I had been given a fair chance under the other mangers," countered Defoe.

Fabio Capello seems to bring the best out of Defoe with seven of the striker's 10 England goals having come since the Italian took charge, including the vital second-half brace that earned the Three Lions a draw in Holland last month.

Yet for the Tottenham striker, it is not a case of proving his critics wrong. More the fact he is now working for a coach who has enough trust in his ability to give him a decent chance.

"Under this one I have featured in a lot of the games and even when I haven't started I've come on and played the whole second half," he added.

"That's getting a fair opportunity. You've got a whole half to show what you can do instead of 10 or 15 minutes. In that time, you might not even touch the ball."

As Defoe is impressing for club and country, he could well oust and out-of-sorts Emile Heskey from the starting line-up for Saturday's friendly with Slovenia at Wembley.

With next week's World Cup qualifier in mind, Capello has drafted Bolton defender Gary Cahill into his squad as cover for John Terry and Wes Brown, who are reported to have minor niggles.

In Terry's case especially, Capello will not want to take any risks given Rio Ferdinand is already absent with a thigh problem, so Cahill may yet end up making his debut at some point on Saturday evening.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
John Terry
League One
Bolton Wanderers
Wes Brown
Emile Heskey
Jermain Defoe
Gary Cahill
Rio Ferdinand

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