Jermain Defoe may have just missed the boat when it came to final cut for England's Euro 2004 adventure, but fully intends to use the platform of a new-look Spurs set-up to stake his claim for future selection.
The 21-year-old was the 24th man in Sven Goran Eriksson’s party and travelled to Sardinia for the pre-tournament get-together before featuring briefly against Iceland in the second game of the FA Summer Tournament at the City of Manchester Stadium.
A clean bill of health for the remainder of the squad saw to it that the former West Ham striker was free to go off on holiday to St Lucia while all the time attempting to keep tabs on events back at White Hart Lane as the rumour mill went into overdrive speculating on who would make up the new management team.
Despite heading off early, Jermain reports that his summer experience was one he relished.
“It was good and I enjoyed it,” reflected the now twice-capped international. “It is always nice to be selected by your country and the training was good in Sardinia. It was a good experience and I got on in the second game so it was nice.
“Obviously it would have been really nice to have gone to Portugal because it was such a massive tournament, but the team still did well and were unlucky to go out on penalties.
“Hopefully if I am selected again I will do my stuff. There are games coming up and, if I get off to a good start here, you never knowÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦”
On the domestic front the wind of change swept through N17 with the appointment of Frank Arnesen, followed shortly by that of Jacques Santini, Martin Jol and Dominique Cuperley.
“It’s always nice to get back into pre-season and see all the boys,” considered Jermain as he pondered the prospect of endurance building fitness drills and a sequence of warm-up games ahead of the new campaign.
“Training has been really good and, obviously with the new Head Coach and his staff, it is exciting and it is going to be a big season for us. With having such a good man in charge with his coaches as well, hopefully we will have a good season.
“I am delighted with it all and the rest of the players are too, it will be a massive season and I am positive about us doing well.”
It took more than a few phone calls home to mum during the holidays for the prolific front man to keep in touch with events as his mobile phone was out of action in the Caribbean.
“It was quite difficult for me to keep up with it all in St Lucia as there were not too many papers around. I seemed to be phoning my mum from the hotel every five minutes asking her what was going on.”
So a new season dawns and Jermain’s ambitions for the season naturally begin with success at club level followed by his much craved for breakthrough into the international scene
“I want to score as many goals for Tottenham as I can, first and foremost — play well and work hard week in, week out. Hopefully, from there, I can get into the England squad and try and do the same there.”