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Agencies
March 28, 2020

There are more important things than football: Defoe

Sports

A
Agencies
March 28, 2020

LONDON: Rangers striker Jermain Defoe insists football has to take a back seat as Scotland deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

The game has been suspended since March 13 due to the health crisis, with no firm date set for its return. And at 37 years of age, Defoe knows time is not on his side in regards to the rest of his career but he stressed that football has become unimportant amid a rising death tally due to the virus.

“To be honest, there are more important things happening in the world than football,” he told TalkSport. “People are dying every day which is such a sad thing, it puts things into perspective and you think, you know what, football is not important at all at this moment in time.

“The most important thing is the people who are actually suffering and the families that are losing loved ones.

“Of course we are all missing the beautiful game. I am missing the Rangers fans and, like I said before, my team-mates and hopefully we will be back playing soon.”

Defoe, who has played for West Ham, Tottenham and Sunderland among others, also winning 57 England caps, claims Rangers have “done wonders” in keeping the squad ticking over in terms of their fitness regimes during extraordinary circumstances.

He said: “Luckily enough we have a group chat and it is quite funny. We all stick together on that. We have banter and good chat as you can imagine. The club have done wonders to be honest. The sport science is on another level. Jordan Milsom is unbelievable. He was at Liverpool with the manager.

“We have an app where all the players have individual programmes and everything goes back to the sports science team so they know what exactly what we are doing. I have my programme on my phone. I know what days I need to work, recover, what I need to do in terms of strength because I had that injury on my calf, what I need to eat on certain days. It is unbelievable.”

People around the United Kingdom on Thursday night took part in a “clap for carers” tribute to the National Health Service and care workers dealing with the pandemic and a grateful Defoe sent his own message.

He said: “I would just like to thank them on behalf of my family, my football club. They have been amazing, they have been the heroes. “I have been blessed, I have managed to be a footballer and have good career and you get people who idolise you but when you compare it to what they are doing, they are the true heroes. People need to applaud as they are having to deal with this situation day in and day out. It is tough. It is a massive challenge, I think it is one we can get over because of the work they are doing. I would like to thank them on behalf of everyone.”

Meanwhile, Burnley boss Sean Dyche trusts the football authorities to make the right decision regarding whether the English Premier League season is completed.

The Football Association announced on Thursday that results from the 2019/20 season were being expunged for leagues below the top two tiers of both non-league and women’s football.

Other divisions including the Premier League have been suspended until at least the end of April with the intention that they will still be played to a conclusion.

A number of non-league clubs affected by the FA’s decision have reacted angrily, but Dyche is happy to support those in charge.

He told BBC Radio Four: “It’s a difficult situation. There’s plenty of powerful people in the right positions to guide us where we need to be. “I don’t think these decisions will be taken lightly. Only speaking on behalf of myself and a Premier League club, the Premier League’s a very, very powerful vehicle.

“Not just for the finance, and the finance it brings into the country through tax etc, but also for the feel-good factor. I think people forget sometimes how powerful football is.

“If it can be done then I think it’s good for all to have sport on TV, not just football, but Premier League football is a powerful thing.”