England under-21 striker Jermain Defoe responded in the best way to having to op
England under-21 striker Jermain Defoe responded in the best way to having to open the season in the Nationwide League, with a classy goal in West Ham's win at Preston...
TheFA.com will announce their Lion of the Weekend every Monday. A Lion of the Season award will be announced in May based on the number of weekly nominations.
What they said
"Excellently-taken strike" - The People
"Lively, direct and full of ideas" - Sunday Mirror
"He will give First Division defenders nightmares" - Five Live pundit Jimmy Armfield
England under-21 striker Jermain Defoe was criticised when he handed in a transfer request only 24 hours after West Ham's relegation.
Ironically, Defoe is still at Upton Park while 16 players including Trevor Sinclair and Joe Cole have left.
But showing a maturity beyond his years, the striker responded in the best way to lead his club to an opening-day victory at Preston.
West Ham had fallen behind at Deepdale after only two minutes but it was Defoe who got them out of trouble almost immediately.
He showed fantastic movement to race ahead of the Preston backline and fire home Don Hutchison's cushioned header.
Back on level terms, The Hammers went on to win 2-1 with 20-year-old Defoe giving the home defence a torrid time with his control and movement.
His importance to the club is best summed up by the attitude of Rob Lee, one of the club's most experienced players.
"Jermain will probably play for better teams in the future - but it would be awful for West Ham to lose him right now. He reminds me of Ian Wright or Alan Shearer, a goalscorer who just wants to score."
Place of Birth: Beckton
Date of Birth: 7 October 1982
Height: 5' 07''
Weight: 10 04
Club: West Ham United
TheFA.com - Lion of the Season 2003/04
David Beckham 1
Jermain Defoe 1
by Joe Bernstein