ENGLAND striker Jermain Defoe could make his Sunderland debut against former team Tottenham on Saturday after closing in on a return to English football last night.
Defoe is believed to have successfully completed a medical ahead of a transfer from Toronto FC, just five months after leaving White Hart Lane for the Major League Soccer side.
The 32-year-old has an extraordinary record of scoring on every one of his club debuts, including for Spurs in 2004, when he netted the first goal of a 4-3 win over Portsmouth.
In a further twist, the man who scored Spurs’ decisive fourth in that match was Gus Poyet, now manager of a Sunderland side whose impotence has seen them slip to within a point of the relegation zone.
The Black Cats have mustered just 18 goals in 21 Premier League games this season, with winger Adam Johnson and forward Steven Fletcher their joint top-scorers on four strikes.
Defoe scored on his first appearance for West Ham in September 2000, aged 17, then a month later on his loan debut for Bournemouth. He crowned his Tottenham bow with a goal in that defeat of Portsmouth, who he later joined and instantly registered for in 2008.
He did not score on the first match of his second stint in north London in 2009, but did net in the following game.
The former Charlton trainee continued the tradition by marking his MLS debut with two goals as Toronto won at Seattle Sounders in July, but was soon contemplating a return to home soil.
Defoe, who took five games to score his first international goal but went on to hit 19 in 55 caps, found himself frozen out by England boss Roy Hodgson after crossing the Atlantic and was left out of last summer’s World Cup squad but has never retired from Three Lions service.