CHIGWELL, London - Tottenham Hotspur's in-form England striker Jermain Defoe can become Premier League top scorer this season, according to manager Harry Redknapp. "I said at the start of the season I tipped him to be an outsider to be leading goalscorer this year. There is no reason he can't do that," Redknapp told reporters on Friday. The 26-year-old Defoe has scored five goals in eight days with a hat-trick at Hull City in the league on Wednesday and a double for England away to Netherlands in a friendly last week. Such form has led Redknapp to tip him to follow former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo and Chelsea's France forward Nicolas Anelka by becoming the league's top scorer. Ronaldo claimed 31 Premier League goals in the 2007-08 season while Anelka struck 19 times last term to beat the Portugal winger to the crown by one goal. Ronaldo's departure for Real Madrid means there is room for other contenders and Redknapp said Defoe, who is preparing to face his old club West Ham United on Sunday, will be among them. "It's about time he got himself 20-odd goals a year because he's capable of doing that. If he can he'll be right up there and, with Ronaldo gone now, he can be pushing to be the leading goalscorer in the league, he's got that much ability." GYM WORK The diminutive Defoe suffered a foot injury in January which gave him plenty of time to work on his physique and he continued that programme in the gym during the close season. Redknapp believes that has helped him produce his best form and noted that he no longer gets muscled off the ball. "He has come back stronger this year. He looks quicker than he did last year and the year before ... with the power he has built working with the fitness coaches in the gym," he added. "He's right up there with the best of them (Premier League strikers) when he's playing like he is at the moment. He looks so sharp, strong, quick -- his finishing is lethal. "He really does look in the mood and when he's in this type of form he's unplayable." Tottenham's quartet of forwards are all internationals, with Ireland captain Robbie Keane starting the first two games alongside Defoe while new signing, England striker Peter Crouch, and Russia's Roman Pavlyuchenko have been on the bench. "Robbie the other night (at Hull) was outstanding," said Redknapp. "We've got Peter Crouch waiting to get into the team ... and Roman Pavlyuchenko's pushing for a place. "We've got four top strikers so the two lads in possession know they need to keep playing well to stay in the team."
21 August 2009
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