Defoe is yet to start a game in the Premier League this season after the close-season arrival of Spain international Roberto Soldado, but offered manager Villas-Boas a reminder of his ability with a typically clinical brace against Tromso in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
This double took the 30-year-old to 20 goals in European competition for Tottenham - just two behind the club record held by Martin Chivers.
And Dawson - who looked set to leave White Hart Lane himself in 2012 before winning his starting place back - has told his team-mate to keep the faith as he bids to get back into Villas-Boas' Premier League plans.
"Football is a strange game - this time last year I wasn't in the team but I kept my head down, worked hard and the rewards were great," the centre-back said.
"All you can do is work hard on a daily basis, and when you get your chance, you've got to take it."
Dawson went on to praise Defoe’s impact against Tromso, saying the former Portsmouth man proved he is a "top player and a top finisher".
"Jermain was sharp as a tack - now he is only two goals behind a Spurs legend in European games.
"We've got a top squad here and, whoever plays on a weekly basis, you've got to go out there and perform - and Jermain's done that."
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