My tribe

Tottenham striker Defoe: West Ham grounding was making of me

Tottenham ace Jermain Defoe says he owes his career to manager Harry Redknapp and former club West Ham United.

Defoe was the mark again for Spurs in yesterday's win over Blackburn Rovers.

As boss of West Ham 11 years ago, Redknapp swooped to take Defoe from the FA National School of Excellence at Lilleshall where Defoe had been given a ­scholarship.

Defoe told the Mirror: "I was only 16 when I went to have a look at West Ham but the manager at the time, Harry, was great to me. As soon as I walked in I saw players like Ian Wright, Frank Lampard and Rio ­Ferdinand. As a young boy it was like a dream. This was where I wanted to be.

"When I was in the youth team, I'd signed my contract and I'd got my foot in the door playing for the U-17 side. I'd only had a few games before I was moved up to the U-19s.

"In my first season with them we won a cup and I scored nearly 50 goals and I was loving my football.

"I'd go to bed at nine o'clock, get in early the next day for training and stay behind practising my finishing with legends like Wrighty, Paolo Di Canio, Lampard."

About the author

Tribal Football Staff

Have your say
  • Add your favourite leagues and clubs
  • Build your own personal news stream
  • Easily share your favourite stories
  • Connect with what your friends are saying

Select your favourite
leagues and clubs
to get started.

Already part of MyTribe?