David Moyes has refused to rule out Jermain Defoe edging his way into Sam Allardyce’s first squad as England manager.
Defoe won and converted a penalty as Sunderland claimed a 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton, with Jay Rodriguez hitting a late equaliser for the hosts.
The 33-year-old Defoe has now found the net in his last six Premier League away games, leading to calls for his first international action since 2013.
Asked if he expects Defoe to be named in Allardyce’s first England squad to be named on Sunday, Moyes replied: “I wouldn’t be surprised at all. Jermain Defoe’s a goalscorer. And he’s got that ability to score out of very little.
“Sam [Allardyce] knows him better than me, he’s worked longer with him than me. What I’ve seen of him so far he’s a really good pro, that’s what I like about him. He wants to do things right and be in a good condition.
“He’s certainly not someone that’s enjoying the latter days of his career, that’s for sure.”
Allardyce kept Sunderland in the top flight last term, with Defoe’s goals playing a major part in the achievement.
Moyes said he would love nothing more than Defoe to be called up to the England squad, even though that would obviously add extra burdens on the veteran forward.
“I’d love to have a Sunderland player in the England squad,” said Moyes. “That would be the first start. We started at Everton like that.
“Hopefully you get someone in, and then I’d hope to get two players in the England squad, and then three and build it up so that we have a squad of top international players. If Jermain Defoe’s the start and the lead, I’ll be thrilled.
“At our club we’re trying to give ourselves every chance of being talked about and building the club up. If you get England players you get talked about more.
“We really need his goals, he took his penalty kick really well and earned it as well. We need him to score. He’s a really good finisher, he’s been carrying a bit of a thigh strain so we just need to check to see he’s OK.”
Sunderland stand-in goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s error gifted Rodriguez his first Premier League goal since March 2014, and the hosts a share of the spoils.
Pickford, 22, is deputising for Vito Mannone — out for three months with elbow trouble — with Moyes backing the youngster to prove his worth.
Moyes insisted the youngster can be proud of his display despite accepting his error proved costly, but also admitted he must now dip into the transfer market for an extra goalkeeping recruit.
“I told him I thought he played really well,” said Moyes of Pickford. “He knows. He said to me ‘sorry about the mistake.’ He made a couple of really good saves. But this is the dilemma when you have young players.
“Sometimes you have to accept that they are going to make mistakes that are going to be costly. The real top players all learn from one or two mistakes.
“We’ll need to bring in another goalkeeper no doubt, but I wouldn’t expect to do that until Tuesday next week. I wouldn’t mention names, but I’ll always look for good players. I’ve got a very good young goalkeeper and sometimes you’ve got to look at the future. But he played well today the boy.”