Defoe's Feet On The Ground

Jermain Defoe insists he will not become big headed after scoring the winner at Old Trafford at the weekend.

Despite the fact that his fourth goal of the season has thrust the spotlight ever more firmly upon him, he says: "It is still early days and I am still young and learning the game, but it doesn't get much better than going to Old Trafford and scoring the winner - I will never forget it.

"I will try and keep my feet on the ground and keep on working hard to get many more goals like that."

And he knows critical acclaim will have no bearing on Glenn Roeder's decision whether to play him or not against Arsenal, when Fredi Kanoute will almost certainly return to action after a hamstring injury.

Being dropped after scoring the winner at the Theatre of Dreams? The scenario is not impossible, but presents a huge dilemma for Glenn Roeder.

Adds Jermain: "That's what Joe Cole said in the changing room to the gaffer but he said he didn't want to think about that because it would give him a headache!"

Glenn insists he will continue to protect his 19-year-old striker for the sake of the longevity of his career, and it is something Jermain appreciates.

But that doesn't stop him hoping to make the fifth Premiership start of his career against Arsenal on Saturday, and he says: "Me and Fredi have played up front before with Paolo just behind but we'll just see what happens - I obviously want to play."

Jermain was just as happy for Joe Cole as for himself, and says he was delighted by his friend's contribution from the middle of the park.

"I think that is Joe's better position," he says. "I spoke to him after the game and he said he enjoys playing there.

"When he came through, that is where he was playing, and I thought he and Michael played really well."

Of the famous goal that may have ended Manchester United's title dreams, Jermain admits it came out of the blue, and says: "It was quite a good move. Joe got it, did a little wriggle, then Paolo got it and I thought there was no way he was going to dig it out and get it over.

"I didn't think I was going to beat Barthez at the near post but I did and I think it hit the crossbar and came down.

"But as soon as I saw it cross the line I was off and then Trev tried to tackle me in the corner as I was celebrating!"

Arriving after 63 minutes, it was the earliest of Jermain's five goals for the Hammers so far in his career, and he admits: "I thought that when you are at Manchester United the game is never over - when I came off I couldn't even watch from the bench.

"I just got my head down, waiting for the final whistle."

Jermain, who was congratulated after the match by, amongst others, a certain Mrs Beckham, admits it took him some time to get to grips with the enormity of what he had done.

"I couldn't believe it, to go to a place like that," he says. "I knew it was going to be difficult because they are one of the best teams in the world.

"It didn't sink until I got home to think about it; it was great.

"I spoke to my mum after the game and she was trying to contain herself.

"I thought everyone played really well and to get a 1-0 win again is a dream come true.

"Everyone was just going mad in the changing rooms - it was a good celebration again."