The numbers that show Jermain Defoe's England call-up was well-deserved
Jermain Defoe might not be many people's idea of a long-term option for England, but it's tough to argue against his inclusion in Gareth Southgate's latest squad.
Defoe has earned a recall for the first time since trading the Premier League for MLS in January 2014, with his goalscoring exploits for Sunderland making it impossible for Southgate to ignore him any longer.
And it's not just the former West Ham and Tottenham man's goals which have captured attention - his all-round contribution has helped keep the Black Cats within touching distance of top-flight safety for another year.
Enough to put a smile on anyone's face https://t.co/7NkrzrfWK9
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) March 17, 2017
According to data courtesy of EA Sports, Defoe's status as the top-scoring available Englishman in the Premier League (due to Harry Kane's injury) is complemented by the fact that he has taken more shots than any English striker compared to Kane, while his 21.2% shots-to-goals ratio is behind only Kane and Troy Deeney as far as his compatriots are concerned.
He has 14 league goals from 66 shots - international teammate Jamie Vardy has half as many goals after registering 34 shots, while other contenders such as Andre Gray (eight goals from 40 shots) and Andy Carroll (six from 29) also lag behind.
But none of Vardy, Deeney, Gray or Carroll come close to Defoe's passing stats. The veteran has 78.5% passing accuracy and 73.5% in the opposition half, while Gray is the only one of the quartet to even crack 60% in both categories.
With a friendly against Germany and a World Cup qualifier against Slovenia just around the corner, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Defoe starting at least once in an England shirt as his late-career resurgence continues.
Data Courtesy of EA SPORTS, the Lead Partner of the Premier League.