Former Three Lions ace Lineker blasted Roy Hodgson's side for going 'back to the dark ages' after Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Republic of Ireland.
But Tottenham striker Defoe, 30, said: "Gary is a legend. He's a Spurs man and I respect him.
"Everyone has their opinion. That's life - it's part and parcel of sport.
"If that's going to hurt you, then you're a weak person. As a group we stick together and try to win football matches.
"We enjoy playing for our country and we want to enjoy it.
"As a kid you dream of doing that and when you play for England you try 100 per cent. Sometimes it might not be good enough."