Jermain: I Can Handle It

  • West Ham are 7/1 to win at Highbury -
    Click for full odds with Surrey Sports.

Jermain Defoe insists that when there comes a time when everything he touches doesn't turn to gold, he will be ready for the criticism.

Right now, he is enjoying the accolades that naturally go with being West Ham's top scorer - but knows there will come a spell that all strikers endure when the goals won't come.

In this, the second season of his fledgling career, he has not yet endured a barren patch, and last season on loan to Bournemouth was equally successful.

But, with Glenn Roeder promising that he will "compete on a level playing field" next season, he is aware of what may lie around the corner.

"Of course; everyone gets it, no one is perfect, and you aren't going to play well every game," he says.

"But if I keep on working hard, even if I am having a bad game hopefully the fans will stay on my side."

For the moment, though, he is enjoying every minute of it - as are his team mates.

"The lads are buzzing; it could have been more on Saturday, but everyone played really well and it was a great match to play in, especially the second half.

"It is just a case of confidence and we got the first goal quite early on; we are winning, we are in it together, and getting the performances in.

"Two days before I didn't know if I was going to play because I'd been ill, but I didn't want to miss it, at home, with all the lads playing well.

"You just have to grind it out really, and do it for the team; it is difficult but you have to do it for the 90 minutes and it doesn't matter if you are ill afterwards - you just have to pull it all in for the game.

"As for my goal, I knew Trevor was going to win the header to set me up and it was a great feeling to see it go in.

"I didn't think Joe's goal was offside at the time, though, and obviously he didn't because he celebrated; but I'm sure he will get his goals."

Jermain puts the side's recent displays down to continued diligence at Chadwell Heath when it would have been so easy to take the foot off the pedal.

"Obviously it starts from the training ground and Glenn, Paul Goddard, and Roger Cross - everyone is playing their part and it is looking good for the club," he says.

Now Jermain is looking forward to his first senior engagement at Highbury, and he adds:

"I have played there just once before, for the U19s, but to go there now and play against world class players with a team playing so well at the moment will be great.

"I'm really looking forward to the game and if I can get a goal there I'd be happy; it is a test for me and whoever plays up front - Fredi could be back and I'm sure we will do well.

"If we can get a point it would be unbelievable but it has been a good season anyway."

Jermain only played for 10 minutes of last week's England U21 defeat by Portugal - the short stint was because of that illness - but he insists:

"The U21s was great, though it was the first game we have lost under David Platt; but it was only a friendly and the most important thing is the championships in the summer, which starts straight after the season finishes."

No rest for the righteous...