Jermain Defoe: Steven Caldwell confident of Sunderland success

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe scored 11 goals in 19 MLS games for Toronto following his February move

Captain Steven Caldwell has backed Toronto team-mate Jermain Defoe to be a success should his move to Sunderland go through as proposed.

Defoe, 32, has passed a medical with the Wearsiders with a view to a Premier League return with Gus Poyet's side.

The England international moved to Major League Soccer in February 2014 after five years at Tottenham.

"He's the type of player who will score goals anywhere, at any level," Caldwell told BBC Newcastle.

"Keep him on the park, keep him fit and give him opportunities. He knows where the net is and he's proved that.

"He's still very fit, he's a forward that thrives on chances."

During his time in Canada, the former Spurs and West Ham striker scored 11 goals in 19 games before picking up a groin injury that curtailed his campaign.

His Premier League record is impressive, with 124 goals making him the 14th most prolific scorer since its 1992 inception.

Steven Caldwell
Ex-Sunderland defender Caldwell captained Jermain Defoe at Toronto

Caldwell, 34, played 81 times for the Black Cats, one of eight clubs he represented in England before his switch to Toronto in 2013.

The former Scotland international is aware of the scepticism from some about the standard in the MLS but is adamant Defoe deserves credit for his efforts.

"Our league is growing all the time," continued Caldwell.

"There always seems to be a debate between the MLS and any league in Europe, especially England, about how good it is and where it stands up.

"At the end of the day you've got to come here, work hard and deliver.

"It's a very physical league, it's difficult with the travel and there are some excellent players, so he did extremely well."

The full interview with Steven Caldwell is available on BBC Newcastle's Total Sport show via the iPlayer.

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