Defoe omission is 'amazing' - Jol

May 8, 2006

Tottenham coach Martin Jol has expressed his amazement that striker Jermain Defoe has only been included on the standby list for England's World Cup campaign this summer.

Although Jol was full of praise for the club's England representatives - 19-year-old winger Aaron Lennon, midfielders Michael Carrick and Jermaine Jenas and goalkeeper Paul Robinson, he failed to hide his surprise over Defoe's absence from Sven-Goran Eriksson's main squad.

However, the Dutchman still believes Defoe will end up going to Germany because of continuing fitness doubts over Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Newcastle's Michael Owen.

Even though Defoe had spent much of his time on the substitutes' bench at White Hart Lane this season, Jol declared: 'I think it's amazing he's not in the squad but he's on standby and with the situation with Rooney and Owen I still believe he will be in there.'

Another absentee from Eriksson's 23-man squad was centre-half Ledley King who was struck down with a metatarsal injury towards the end of the season.

King had been hoping to win a fitness battle in time to make Eriksson's squad but the England coach opted to leave him out.

Jol added: 'I'm disappointed for him because it's about fitness and he just got the injury at the wrong time. He's been outstanding for us and it's only because of his injury that's he's not there.'

But Jol was full of praise for Lennon's inclusion in the squad. The 19-year-old got the nod ahead of Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips after an inspirational last few months of the Premiership season.

Jol declared: 'It's great news for him. He's such an exciting talent. He's developed quickly, he's a bright lad and hopefully he'll play some part because that will be a great experience for him and we'll benefit from it as well as a club.'

Jermaine Jenas, Michael Carrick and Paul Robinson were all expected to go to Germany and Jol applauded their performances in a season which saw Spurs clinch a place in the UEFA Cup.

Jol said: 'Jermaine showed real consistency and he's scored the goals we predicted he would - we asked for six or seven and he did that. He's fulfilled my expectations and what I had in mind from him.

'Michael's had such a fantastic season. I said when I took over that he would be our fifth England squad member and I've been proved right.

'He has a massive influence on our midfield, is always fit - and even when he's injured he shows great character. He has stamina and is arguably the best at that position in England.

'Paul was the easy one. I don't really even have to say well done because he's England's number one and he's proved that.'