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Jermain Defoe: I Wanted To Leave Tottenham

White Hart Lane striker admits frustration after being left on the bench.

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Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe revealed he nearly quit the club after becoming so frustrated with his lack of opportunities.

The 28-year-old has been hampered by injuries this season and struggled to regain his starting place as a result.

Rafael van der Vaart’s arrival has also increased competition for places, with manager Harry Redknapp preferring a 4-5-1 formation to include the Dutchman.

This has meant Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko have started the majority of games with Defoe settling for a place on the bench.

Defoe boosted his chances of playing AC Milan in the Champions League with a stunning double against Wolves in the 3-3 draw at Molineux.

But the England international admits his fall in the pecking order is as frustrating as when he left Tottenham for Portsmouth in 2008.

“It’s been hard,” he told the Daily Mail. “You start to think: ‘What am I doing here?’ I’m used to playing in big games.

“I’ve played in big games for my clubs and for my country.

“It’ll be a tough game (against Milan). I hope I’m playing and if I can score and win the game then it’ll be great.

“But I remember playing against Charlton (in the FA Cup in January) and scoring two goals, then the next weekend I missed out.

“I was upset about that because once I start scoring I’m confident and I have the feeling I know I’ll score in the next game.

“I don’t think the club would have allowed me to go on loan.

“It was like when I decided to leave and went to Portsmouth because I got to a situation where I thought: ‘I’m not sitting on the bench.'”

Defoe says it was hard missing out on the 1-0 victory over Milan in the first-leg of the Champions League tie, especially after not playing in the group games through injury.

“It was hard, because it was a big game,” he added.

“I was looking forward to this season, especially when you feel you contributed last season, finishing fourth and scoring a lot of goals.

“When you eventually get there you want to be playing, because you worked hard to get the club there in the first place.

“The way the manager’s gone this season, we’ve gone one up front with someone just behind.

“It’s difficult. I missed all the group games when I was injured, so you’ve just got to watch the lads do well.”

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