Nelsen torn over potential World Cup selection for TFC's Defoe

The Canadian Press
5/6/2014 3:42:56 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

TORONTO -- Understandably, Ryan Nelsen is torn about Jermain Defoe and the World Cup.

Talk to the Toronto FC manager and he lists off the reasons why his star striker should go to Brazil. But he better than anyone knows that England's gain would be his loss.

"Look, for Toronto FC I'd love him to stay obviously, because he's a quality player," said Nelsen, who captained New Zealand at the 2010 World Cup. "But for Jermain, if I was the England manager, I probably would pick him. Because you know what you're going to get with him -- you absolutely know what you're going to get with him."

Defoe, who played at the 2010 World Cup, offers England experience and a scoring touch off the bench. He has potted goals everywhere he has played -- including 19 in 55 appearances for his country.

The 31-year-old striker says he is in the dark, waiting for the phone to ring.

"It's down to the manager," said Defoe, referring to England boss Roy Hodgson. "He picks the squad.

"I'm sure he knows what every player can do. And even before he was the England manager, he probably knew all the players anyway. So I'm sure that the manager knows his squad. And he probably knew his squad a long time ago -- maybe just one or two additions that you're not sure about.

"I don't know. It's up to the manager. As players, you just concentrate on playing for your club and then, like you said, you wait for the call."

Hodgson has apparently made up his mind. He is set to announce his 23-man squad Monday as well as seven standby players.

"I've known for a while," he is quoted on England's Football Association website.

England will travel to Portugal on May 19 for a training camp that runs through May 23. The squad will reassemble May 27 with a friendly against Peru at Wembley on May. 20.

The 23-man World Cup squad will be confirmed June 2.

England has friendlies June 3 against Ecuador and June 7 against Honduras, both in Miami, before heading to Brazil for its World Cup opener June 14 against Italy.

Realistically Defoe is hoping to land a spot as a reserve striker with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck of Manchester United, Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool and perhaps Rickie Lambert of Southampton ahead in the pecking order.

Given that, some argue that it would make more sense to take a younger player over Defoe. The argument there is that it would be an investment in the future.

Nelsen sees the other side to that coin, suggesting his man has the seasoning and mental toughness to survive the England spotlight.

"Probably the Brazil and the England national team are the hardest teams in world sport to play for, in terms of expectation and pressure," he said. "You know Jermain can handle that. On the world's biggest stage, you want to kind off knock out the variables. And I think Jermain does that."

"With my TFC hat on, I hope he doesn't (go). I hope he stays here," Nelson added with a laugh.

Barring injury, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar will leave Toronto for the World Cup.

Nelsen expects Cesar to leave his team after the May 23 game against Sporting Kansas City.

"Jermain, if he does (go), (will be) roughly about the same time," he added.

"(U.S. manager Juergen Klinsmann) Juergen wants Michael now. Or tomorrow," Nelsen said with a smile. "But we're trying to hold that. I think for Michael, it will probably be the 19th or the 20th that we lose him."

The World Cup runs June 12 to July 13.

Jermain Defoe (Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)


(Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


TSN FC with Luke Wileman, Jason deVos & Kristian Jack - September 15

Luke, Jason and KJ are back in-studio to talk Toronto FC dysfunction, Tim Leiweke's comments, the Whitecaps playoff push, EPL & more.

TSN 690: oranges at halftime: Patrice bernier: sep 11

In depth chat with the Impact Captain who celebrated a milestone 50th Cap for Canada.

TSN 690: oranges at halftime: Gareth Wheeler; sep 11

Laughs a plenty as we chat all things Premier with the host of #BPL on #TSNRadio

More Podcasts

Premier League Shows on is Canada's exclusive home to highlight and feature programs from the Barclay's Premier League. Check out the latest programs on VOD below.

Net Busters

See all the goals, saves, bloopers and quotes from each week

- Episode 4

Previous episodes:3 | 2 | 1

BPL Match Pack

Weekly match preview show using interesting facts & figures

- Week 3

TSN TweetBox
© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television