Jermain Defoe insists he is happy to bide his time after maintaining his form with another goal in England's 2-1 friendly win over Slovenia tonight.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker came off the bench to double England's advantage in the second half, after Frank Lampard had opened the scoring from the penalty spot at Wembley. Defoe is now in firm contention to start Wednesday's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Croatia but claims he will be willing to play any role asked of him by Fabio Capello.
Defoe told ITV1: "Everyone wants to play; no one wants to sit on the bench. But at the end of the day if I can come on and make an impact like I did I'll do that. The manager picks the team. The first-half performance was good from the lads, and I will just keep working hard and see what happens."
Defoe scored twice in last month's friendly against Holland, while his early-season performances for Spurs have also been impressive. He added: "I'm playing with good players, so obviously I'm going to get opportunities to score or get in positions to score. At the minute, everything seems to be going in - and I'm delighted."
Everyone wants to play; no one wants to sit on the bench. But at the end of the day if I can come on and make an impact like I did I'll do that.
Fabio Capello was unhappy with his team's lack of concentration and focus as they almost allowed Slovenia to snatch a draw. "I was not happy to concede a late goal because the concentration was not good in the last four or five minutes," said Capello. "We played too slow, we played long balls and didn't play the style I like. I want the players to focus and concentrate on every minute of the game."
Capello made four changes at half-time, removing Emile Heskey from the attack as well as replacing Steven Gerrard, Lampard and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Defoe's goal will have boosted his chances of a place in the starting line-up against Croatia on Wednesday but Capello would not be drawn on whether the Spurs striker had done enough to get the nod ahead of Heskey.
"Heskey played a good game," said Capello. "I had a chance at half-time to see a different style of play with two smaller players. I am still trying different things. I want to know a lot of things but Jermain always scores when he plays the second half. I want to use the time before the next game to decide. I am happy tonight. Friendly games are very important preparation for me.
"Slovenia were a difficult team to play against but I learned a lot about individual players but I cannot share anything. We had a lot of chances and we have no injuries."