Wednesday, 15 August, 2012
Tom Cleverley and match winner Jermain Defoe happy with win over Italy
England striker Jermain Defoe came off the bench to score the crucial winner for England against Italy in Berne and dedicated his goal to a beloved family member who recently, and tragically, died earlier this summer.
The Spurs frontman won the game for his side after coming on for the second half with a dipping, curling effort from outside the box with just ten minutes of the match remaining.
“It was one of my best and I would like to dedicate that goal to my cousin who died in St Lucia, it would have been their birthday today,” said Defoe.
“It was nice to come on and score but it was important to get a win so it was good.
“I think even if you speak to the lads with more caps than me they still want to prove themselves everytime they pull on an England shirt and prove things to the nation and to the Manager. I'm always looking to prove things.
“Every time I play I give 100 per cent and as a striker I am judged on goals and it is always nice to score for your country."
Defoe was one of the most experienced players in the new-look squad and he was full of praise for debutant Tom Cleverley.
Defoe said: “Clevers did well today because in that system it is important for the midfielders to get on the ball and be brave, that is what the manager wanted and the lads were fantastic."
Cleverley added: “It was a proud moment, and obviously a big occasion in any footballer’s life.
“I managed to get on the ball a few times, they made it hard for me in there and came in with some hard tackles and Di Rossi is a good player but hopefully I have impressed the manager and can be called up again.
"I felt we looked after the ball today, we controlled the game in light spells and I knew my role. I played there against Senegal for Team GB in the Olympics, so I know the role well and I enjoyed it."