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Defoe never gave up England hope

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe never gave up hope of returning to the England squad.

The 34-year-old has not featured for the national side since November 2013, but could make his comeback in the friendly against Germany or the World Cup qualifier versus Lithuania after receiving a call up from Gareth Southgate, who is without injured Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

"There were times where I did think 'maybe I am not going to get in'. But that did not stop me from getting my head down, working hard and just hoping that one day I would get an opportunity to represent my country again," Defoe said at a news conference.

"I never gave up. I was getting a lot of stick from the lads on the [Sunderland] training ground because I still have the England flag on my boots. But I was just hoping I would get the opportunity again and now it has come I am delighted.

"It feels different coming in as one of the senior lads. The first time round, coming in as a youngster, you are like a sponge, you try and take everything from the manager and the players. This time around it is a bit strange. I am a senior lad and I want to try and help the younger lads, but even some of them have experience under their belts, which is important."

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The call up will boost Defoe's ambitious hopes of making it to the 2018 World Cup, should England qualify.

"If I do get an opportunity to go to another major tournament it would be a dream," he added.

"Travelling, getting to the hotel, playing the games. It is something I wanted to do as a kid, growing up watching the major players on TV and wanting to emulate them.

"To be lucky enough to have experienced it, you just want it more and more."