TORONTO – Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe is finally ready to return to the Reds’ lineup after more than a month on the shelf with a nagging hamstring injury.
The English international said Tuesday he expects to play when TFC host the New England Revolution at BMO Field on Saturday (1 pm ET, TSN2 in Canada, UDN in US), his first action since March 29.
“I’m 100 percent now,” Defoe confirmed to reporters. “I feel stronger than I was before. My season started in August, so I’ve played a lot of football. I just picked up a little hamstring injury, it was a case of just getting it strong again.”
Despite missing three of Toronto FC’s first six games this season, Defoe said he isn’t too concerned about the injury, citing his relatively clean bill of health throughout his career in England and adding that he’s never had a reoccurrence of the same injury.
“I’m not one of those players where I worry about, when I get an injury, coming back worried and sort of like not giving it my all,” Defoe said. “I’ll go out there and do exactly what I did before, I’ll just give everything.
“I’ve been lucky enough with injuries because it’s the way I’ve conditioned myself and the way I’ve looked after my muscles. I can’t see it happening again because it feels really strong now.”
Defoe joined the club in late February after missing some time with Tottenham because of another hamstring injury, but he explained this week that that was simply the result of his style of play.
“How I play, sometimes I go from a standing-still position to get up to full speed, so you’re going to get injuries,” he said. “It’s just a case of letting the muscle heal. Maybe I didn’t do that before [in England] when I’ve had injuries before … but now I’ve given it time to heal.”
Defoe played for 62 minutes against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 29 before being subbed off with the injury. He was then unused in the next three games Toronto FC played, when the club posted a 1-2 record.
With the 2014 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, Defoe says he doesn’t think this injury spell will change his chances at making the English roster.
“If you miss three games and that changes the fact that you could go to a tournament, that’s crazy,” Defoe said, adding that he had yet to speak with English manager Roy Hodgson.
“I don’t feel like I need to sell myself to anyone. I just let my football do the talking. I’ve done that since I made my professional debut at 17. I’m sure the manager knows what I can do.”