Sir Les has no doubts the bulkier Defoe is a new threat this season.
Ferdinand, a League Cup winner with Spurs and the first player to score for six different Premier League clubs, said: “Jermain has definitely beefed up a bit. He takes a bit of a buffeting from defenders but he is strong enough to handle it all. For his size, he is immensely strong and can hold off defenders while waiting to bring others into play.
“Everyone knows how quick Jermain is but maybe not so many people realise how strong he is.”
He added: “Jermain can be a big player for us because of the lift team-mates get when they see his name on the team sheet.
“It boosts everyone and the others start saying, ‘JD is back... I don’t want to lose my place’. So that spurs you on a little bit harder.”