English International, Jermain Defoe, said he is very pleased with the award he received from his club, Sunderland FC.
The 33-year old former Spurs striker said felt he had a point to prove in his first full season as a Sunderland player.
Having been named player of the year by the club’s supporters, the striker now wants to earn the level of affection lavished on Kevin Phillips who scored 116 goals in matches for the club.
The diminutive player joined mid-season on the back of a year in Major League football playing for Toronto, and a hernia operation. He was only able to find the net four times in his first campaign on Wearside. Defoe being eager to show his worth in 2015-16 responded with 16 goals. Conscious of the impact Kevin Phillips and others had on the club, Defoe has plans to emulate them.
On the award and being like Philips, he said:
“It’s a special one [the award] because it comes from the fans and its the fans appreciating your hard work.
“It means a lot to me because it’s my first full season here.
“For me everything started in pre-season. I came back off holiday and just wanted to have a really good pre-season and show the fans what I could do because when I first came into the club I’d had four months off from the MLS and an operation and I wasn’t sharp or fit.
“That’s why pre-season was important for me. It’s paid off and I feel sharp and fit.
“I’m still not done yet because I want to continue scoring goals until the end of the season because I know now the goals are needed.”
“When I first walked into the football club I just wanted to score goals and be the difference and help the team to push forward.
“It’s no different to the other forwards who have been here over the years, the likes of Darren Bent and Kevin Phillips. The fans appreciate and still love them to this day.
“Hopefully one day, when I’m not playing any more, I can come always back here because it’s a great place.”