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Page last updated at 20:51 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 21:51 UK

Defoe form hands Capello dilemma

Defoe hoping to start against Slovenia

England boss Fabio Capello admitted Jermain Defoe's goal-scoring form has given him a selection dilemma for the World Cup qualifier against Croatia.

Defoe, 26, came off the bench to score in the 2-1 friendly win over Slovenia, his fifth goal in three England games.

Capello must decide whether to stick with Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey up front or start with Defoe on Wednesday.

"When Defoe plays in the second half he scores," said Capello. "I have to chose the side. I have time to decide."

The striker, who has now scored eight times under Capello, has been in fine form for Tottenham and England but said he is happy to bide his time as he waits for a starting spot.

"Everyone wants to play; no one wants to sit on the bench," said Defoe, who has scored four goals in Spurs' first four games this season.


"But if I can come on and make an impact like I did I'll do that."

Defoe said last week he would be content to make an impact from the bench if Capello thought that was where he could do most damage and the Spurs man reiterated that after his latest goal-scoring exploits.

"At the minute, everything I hit seems to be going in, I'm delighted," he said.

"With England you are playing with good players so you get the opportunities.

"The manager picks the team. I'll just keep working hard and see what happens."

England know victory over Croatia on Wednesday will book their place at the World Cup in South Africa 2010 and, rather than gamble on starting Defoe, Capello is likely to use him as an substitute again.

The Italian has tended to favour a big man to play alongside Rooney and Capello revealed he was pleased with the way Heskey performed in the first half against Slovenia.

I was not happy to concede a late goal because the concentration was not good in the last four or five minutes

Fabio Capello

"I'm happy because I learned a lot of things," said Capello.

"Friendly games are always important to study the players. I wanted to see a lot of players because playing at Wembley is not the same as playing for their club.

"Heskey played a good game, then we changed it at half-time to see the different style of play, with two little players up front. They played well.

"I wanted to know a lot of things. This isn't a friendly game, it's really important."

Against Slovenia a first-half penalty by Frank Lampard and Defoe's 62nd-minute strike had England looking comfortable until Zlatan Ljubijankic reduced the arrears six minutes from time.

"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."

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see also
England 2-1 Slovenia
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Defoe hoping to start against Slovenia
02 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Defoe can be the best - Redknapp
21 Aug 09 |  Tottenham
I'm an honest player, says Rooney
03 Sep 09 |  Premier League
Capello recalls Crouch and Lennon
30 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Netherlands 2-2 England
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Terry maintains World Cup focus
07 Jun 09 |  Internationals

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