Jermain Defoe is a goalscorer if nothing else. The England and Tottenham striker was at it again on Thursday night, netting his side’s second goal in their 2-0 victory over reigning Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol.
The 31-year-old has now scored six goals in this season’s Europa League, and his latest strike takes him level with Spurs legend Martin Chivers, both having scored 22 goals in European competitions.
This represents an enormous feat for a player many thought would be surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane after the arrival of Valencia striker Roberto Soldado in the summer.
However, Defoe has found a new lease of life in Europe this season, and has been in such a rich vein of form, and many are calling for his return to the starting XI in the Premier League. The fact that he has remained on the bench displays the sheer wealth of talent available to manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Prior to Thursday’s game, Chivers spoke of his admiration for Defoe, and said he deserved to break his long-standing milestone,
“I’m pleased for him to be quite honest,” Chivers told the official Spurs website.
“If I’m going to let any record go that I’ve got here, I don’t mind letting it go to Jermain Defoe, who is a great goalscorer.”
This latest win for Spurs’ sees them top of their group with nine points, having won all three of their opening fixtures.
However, their performance was far less convincing than the scoreline suggests.
Villas-Boas’ side took an early lead from a Jan Vertonghen header, but looked shaky at the back, and were often left exposed by Sheriff’s quick counter-attacking style. Injuries to defenders Zeki Fryers and Kyle Naughton will also be a matter of concern going into this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
Nevertheless, Spurs can reflect on what was another very successful night’s work. They look set to seriously contend in the Europa League this season, and with progress to the next round virtually secured, Chivers’ record looks almost certain to fall.
Defoe may no longer be first choice up-front for Spurs, but his goalscoring prowess ought not to be ignored by Villas-Boas, or by England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of next summer’s World Cup finals.