Jermain Defoe, once a prominent figure at Tottenham, found himself relegated to the bench with the arrival of Roberto Soldado. Seeking a fresh start, the 31-year-old striker decided to join Major League Soccer's Toronto FC.
Despite having scored 142 goals for Tottenham, Defoe struggled for playing time under coach Tim Sherwood, who favored the Spanish striker.
Expressing his commitment to the new journey, Defoe stated, "Everyone knows what this club means to me. I'll leave everything on the field as long as I'm with the club."
Defoe's journey took him to Sunderland in 2015, fueled by a desire to prove critics wrong. In a conversation with Troy Deeney on the Football Firsts podcast, Defoe reflected on using negativity as motivation. During his time at Toronto FC, critics suggested he was merely"chilling" in the MLS, providing him with the fuel to excel.
Following his stint in North America, Defoe made a return to the Premier League with Sunderland. Acknowledging the need for that touch of negativity to reignite his competitive spirit, he stated, "I think I needed that little bit of negativity to get me going because I was comfortable in Toronto. I signed a four-year contract and that."
"I came back, and even when I came back, to be fair, in my head, I thought I've got nothing to prove because that's why I went [to Toronto] in the first place. Nothing to prove in the Premier League, but then, when you start seeing things, it's time," Defoe said.