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Posted on 25 March 2006  - 12:00

Martin Jol has reiterated that striker Jermain Defoe is very much an important part of his squad.

Martin Jol has reiterated that striker Jermain Defoe is very much an important part of his squad.

Head Coach Martin contacted Jermain on his day off on Friday and spoke again to the England hitman at training on Saturday after Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez amazingly told the media that we are 'desperate to sell Defoe'.

Those comments have angered both the Chairman, Daniel Levy, and Martin.

"Why should I have my players upset in this manner? It is unbelievable. It is bad enough when agents talk and spread rumours, but this was totally unnecessary coming from a club. I would never deliberately upset another team's player like this.

"It’s also ludicrous to suggest that we are scurrying around trying to sell one of our best players. And I hear there are suggestions that we tried to swop Jermain for Cisse in January and keep trying to – I have never heard such rubbish. Why on earth would we have been interested in letting a striker as good as Jermain go in January when we were actually looking to ADD another striker?

"If other managers are interested in my players - and let’s face it they will be, I have good players and Jermain is one of them - then they know the proper way to go about asking - and we can politely say no. There is a way to do things and a way not to do things," said Martin, firmly.

Martin stressed that Jermain has more than played his part this season - and will continue to do so.

"Jermain has been involved in 30 matches,†pointed out Martin. "Robbie Keane has also been involved in 30 matches. As a matter of fact, Jermain has played more minutes than Keane."

"Jermain has done wonderfully well," continued Martin. "I always say if you play more than 25 games at this club you do well and we're happy with you.

"He is up for it and will give everything. Somebody said to me he could lack rhythm, but he has played in four out of the last six matches - nobody knows the facts.

"He has scored and made a lot of important goals for us - I have three strikers and they have scored 30 goals between them and that for me is the important statistic. Not many top teams can match this.

"He's scored his goals and made another against Sunderland for Keane. It was a scrappy game against Birmingham last week but who made the first goal? Defoe. So there's no problem at all."

With the summer transfer window looming Martin is expecting the usual tranche of misleading rumour, but feels it has started even earlier this season.

Finally, Martin added: "And no disrespect to Cisse, he is a good second striker but we don’t need this type of player now, end of story."