Portsmouth's Defoe: Players passionate about England

Jermain Defoe has refuted talk that England's players do not have any passion for the shirt.

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The media has been critical of England's stars of late following their disappointing Euro 2008 qualifying campaign in which they failed to qualify for this summer's Championship.

Their effort and passion for the shirt has been questioned, but Defoe believes nothing could be further from the truth with many players crying following the heartbreaking defeat at Wembley.

"I have read and heard so much rubbish about players not caring," he told the Sunday Mirror. "Trust me, it means so much to the players who pull on that England shirt.

"I saw the devastation in those changing rooms after we lost to Croatia. If only people knew what is was like.

"Perhaps some of the supports should go in the changing rooms afterwards. Some of the lads were in tears after that game, so don't talk to me about not caring.

"There is pressure to be successful, but quite rightly so. That isn't an excuse."