Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has insisted that Jermain Defoe still has a major role to play at White Hart Lane.
The striker has been linked with a move away from N17 this summer, but Redknapp is expecting a ‘big season’ from the England international.
Defoe’s future at the North London club came under scrutiny after a disappointing performance last season, when he only scored four league goals and was hampered by injuries.
"Jermain did not have the best time of times last season and had problems with injuries,” Redknapp said, as reported by the Sunday People.
"He only scored four league goals and he is a 16-17 goal a season player, no question.
"But he has looked fit and he has looked really sharp in pre-season and a lot of that is down to his own efforts.
“He went over to France to see a fitness coach and that really does seem to have helped him a lot.
"I am looking for him to have a big season for Tottenham. He is really flying at the moment."
Spurs were due to start their Premier League campaign at home to Everton on Saturday, but the game was postponed after the recent riots in the capital caused major damage to several buildings along the nearby Tottenham High Road.
They will officially get their season underway in a Europa League qualifier at Hearts on Thursday, with Defoe looking for a good start.
“It’s important that we get off to a good start and on a personal note, as a forward, you want to get a few goals as quickly as possible and take it from there,” Defoe told Spurs’ official website.
“In my experience, if you score a few goals in the first few games, it sets you up for the rest of the season.
“It [last season] was the first season where I’ve had injuries and it’s been so up and down,” he added.
“It was really stop-start and I couldn’t get going, couldn’t get into the rhythm that I normally get into. That’s why I’m looking forward to this season and to get off to a good start.”
Defoe is 33/1 to be the Premier League’s top goal-scorer this season, well behind favourite Wayne Rooney at 6/1.comments