World Cup: Jermain Defoe expects call from England, Julio Cesar open to staying at Toronto FC

TORONTO – Toronto FC’s three big names, Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley and Júlio César, are starting to get World Cup fever as the tournament edges closer and closer with each passing day.

Of the three, only Júlio César has been confirmed as a member of Brazil’s 23-man roster. Defoe’s status remains up in the air, while Bradley is all but a lock for the US roster.

However, speaking to reporters after a training session at BMO Field in preparation for next week's second leg of the Canadian Championship semifinals against the Vancouer Whitecaps, Defoe confirmed that as of Friday morning he had been in contact with the England camp.

“They’re watching,” Defoe said, referring to the England managerial staff. “I spoke to the physio this morning, he called me up and said, ‘How are you feeling, is everything 100 percent?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Good, because [head coach] Roy Hodgson wants the physios to phone all the players that potentially could be in the 23-man squad. He’s got a list of 30.’”

Júlio César, meanwhile, is making travel plans.

He also spoke about the concerns from FIFA that some stadiums won’t be ready in time for the tournament, saying that that’s just how things are done in his home country.

“I heard a lot of people talking about the stadiums, the stadiums are not ready yet," the goalkeeper said. "But in Brazil, we are like that, we leave things to the last minute."

The veteran 'keeper joined Toronto FC on loan from Queens Park Rangers, and his post-World Cup status isn’t yet clear. But he told reporters he would actually consider making a permanent move to Toronto FC after the tournament is over.

“I came here on loan, and I have two more years of contract with QPR, but I don’t know what can happen after the World Cup,” he said. “The people here, the fans, the supporters, they received me very well.

"I can say that the MLS league, I was shocked when I started playing here. A lot of people outside America, they don’t have any idea about MLS today. So, I don’t know. I hope to talk to the owner of the club and make some deal in the future.”

As for Bradley, the midfielder said he’s excited to experience the unifying effect of the tournament once again.

“The World Cup is a powerful thing,” Bradley said. “It’s bigger than any one country and any situation in a particular moment. It stops the world in that moment. I certainly look at it from a positive point of view that says no matter what’s gone on up until now, now Brazil is going to be excited to have the world watching them in this World Cup.”

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