Ex-Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Rangers star declares interest in taking charge of Leeds United's rivals

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Rangers star Jermain Defoe has admitted revealed he would be interested in managing Leeds United’s Championship rivals Sunderland.

A lethal marksman in his playing days, Defoe spent the bulk of his career in the Premier League before hanging up his boots. He had two spells at Sunderland, making 100 appearances for the club and scoring 37 goals.

Although he has coached within Tottenham’s academy, the 41-year-old is yet to manage at senior level. However, he has said he would be open to taking charge of Sunderland when Mike Dodds’ reign as interim head coach comes to an end.

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As reported by the Sunderland Echo, he said: “If I got a phone call now and they said ‘do you want to be Sunderland manager?’, when you’ve had these dreams [to go into managing], it’d be a dream because I understand it’s a massive club, it’s a Premier League club.

Jermain Defoe had two spells at Sunderland as a player. Image: Alex Pantling/Getty ImagesJermain Defoe had two spells at Sunderland as a player. Image: Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Jermain Defoe had two spells at Sunderland as a player. Image: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

“Why not? Even when I was a player, I always used to say I'd love to manage this club. I don't know if other players are like that if other players have a relationship with fans and a club and think they'd love to manage this club.”

A number of Defoe’s former teammates, such as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard have gone into management following the end of their playing careers. Keen to follow in their footsteps, Defoe has spoken to the likes of Antonio Conte and Gareth Southgate about their paths into coaching.

He explained: “I played with Paulo Di Canio, he went on to manage and managed this club, John O'Shea, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, I spoke to Antonio Conte when he was at Tottenham last season about his journey into the game.

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“I spoke with Gareth Southgate, I sat down with Gareth on one of my courses, I was lucky enough to sit down with him for two or three hours and talk to him about his journey at Middlesbrough, 35, going from being captain to all of a sudden getting a call in the summer asking him to become manager. Everyone's journey is different. If I got an opportunity, I wouldn't shy away from it, let's go. The most important thing is knowing who you'll take with you and I've got that.”

Sunderland have endured a turbulent campaign and have relieved two managers of their duties. Tony Mowbray was the first to be axed, followed by his successor Michael Beale.

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