How Spurs striker Jermain Defoe became an England player.
England striker Jermain Defoe tells us how a former Three Lions goalscorer inspired his Wembley dream...
My first team was Senrab when I was eight and Ian Wright was my hero.
I still watch DVDs of him playing, and even in retirement his passion for the game is incredible. You can see why he did so well - he was the type who would have played for nothing. Seeing someone like that with such passion is inspiring. It's weird now because I actually know Wrighty. When I speak to my mum she always reminds me about all the posters of him I had on my walls and how I used to pretend to be him every time I kicked the ball.When I went to Highbury I didn't go to watch Arsenal
- I went just to watch him! I used to spend the whole 90 minutes just studying him, then I'd get the videos and look at his movement and everything about him. I remember seeing him get four goals against San Marino, but it was his Arsenal goals I really remember.My first ever game for England was U15 level.
I remember playing at the old Wembley against Brazil for the U15s, too. That was brilliant. After that we went to France and played in a mini-World Cup, we did well in that tournament. We finished third and I won the Golden Boot, so I was buzzing about that and I've still got the big trophy they gave me at my mum's house. I was
only 15. It's mad when you see your shirt all laid out in the dressing room.
Even when you're only 15, in your mind you think, 'I'm an England player!' It was very weird. At the time it felt like I was the same as Wrighty and all the Senior players. It felt the same through the U18s, the Under-21s and then when I made that massive step to the Senior team it still felt exactly the same as when I was 15.Every game feels like it's the first time I'm playing for England.
When I'm standing there singing the national anthem, it's special every time. People say to me, 'You didn't look nervous during this or that game'. But you're always a little bit nervous because you want to do well. To be honest I feel confident before every game. I know I have to relax and play my natural game or I might not get another chance again. It was like that at the World Cup. It felt so special to finally play at that tournament and I was thinking I might not get this chance ever again, so I have to enjoy it.This interview came from the England v Hungary official match day programme in August. To get your copy of the programme, click here, or to subscribe to ensure you always get your programme delivered to your door, click here.
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