Defoe fired up by Carroll challenge

Jermain Defoe insists that the emergence of Andy Carroll this season has acted as an incentive for him to make his mark on the international scene.

Following a season leading the line for Newcastle in the Championship and helping them secure promotion to the Premier League, Carroll has hit the headlines this season with standout performances for his hometown club, which secured him a move to Liverpool in the January transfer window for £35 million.

Defoe, however, has not enjoyed the greatest season domestically, only managing two Premier League goals to Carroll’s 11, but the diminutive forward does not see Carroll’s emergence as a hindrance to his England chances.

“It makes you more hungry,” said the Tottenham striker. “I’ve been given the opportunity and I’ve scored goals, and the manager knows that. I think he knows now what I can do and it’s a case of just waiting for my opportunity again.”

Defoe’s last England goals came in the 4-0 defeat of Bulgaria at Wembley in September of last year, with the striker scoring a hat-trick. His performance on the night led England boss Fabio Capello to praise his striking capabilities, particularly his movement without the ball.

“Defoe is always important for us,” said the Italian, after the match.

Sources claim that Carroll is tipped to start against Wales alongside Wayne Rooney, with his height and physicality expected to win out over Defoe’s pace and nimbleness.

"If I don't play at the weekend and I'm on the bench, I'll be focused to try to come on and make an impact," he said.

By Vithushan Ehantharajah