Dele Alli says new England boss Gareth Southgate is a 'fantastic' coach

Defoe, 34, missed out on UEFA Euro 2016 with Roy Hodgson's England despite a successful season in a struggling Sunderland side with 15 English Premier League league goals.

The striker offered an insight into the sacrifices and lifestyle choices that have led to his global renaissance at the age of 34.

Sunderland striker Defoe ended a lengthy worldwide exile with his 20th goal for the Three Lions - four years on from his 19th - by slotting home Raheem Sterling's cutback in the 21st minute of a routine World Cup qualifying victory.

"I have a better understanding of my body now", said Defoe.

"It still feels like you're playing with a 25-year-old Jermain Defoe", Lallana said. I can't constrain myself on selection entirely but I know ideally what I'd like to have.

Since returning to the Premier League with Sunderland he has been one of the division's most reliable scorers, with 14 goals this season despite his club's perilous position at the bottom of the table.

A lot of players might be willing to go the extra mile to get in the England squad, but there must be few who are going to show that kind of dedication.

England boss Gareth Southgate is adamant that he will make no attempt to coax dual-nationality players into representing the Three Lions, insisting he only wants those desperate to feature for this country in his squad.

'Never once did I think I was going to retire from worldwide football.

"I'd put my house on [Defoe] scoring at some stage", said Southgate, who was playing for England when Defoe made his debut in 2004.

Strikes from Jermain Defoe and Jamie Vardy proved to be the difference against a team ranked 107th in the world but England were still criticised for not winning by a larger margin in front of an expectant Wembley crowd. He sets a great example for a lot of us players. "He was thrilled to be back involved in the squad and he has enjoyed his week immensely". Everyone wants to feel fresh in the game - there's no better feeling - so I just make sure I'm doing the right things and trying to tick every box: cryotherapy, massage, eating the right things.

Aside from Defoe notching a first worldwide goal for four years, the Wembley crowd witnessed some forgettable fayre, with Lithuania's lack of ambition and England's sluggish early tempo contributing to a paucity of goalmouth action. My girlfriend suggested I gave it a go.

"I'm not even saying going to the Euros and starting, just to be with this bunch of players and have an opportunity to play with this sort of quality".

Defoe also walked out alongside the youngster for Sunderland's home game against Chelsea this season and has visited him in hospital while receiving treatment for neuroblastoma.

  • Julie Sanders