Jermain Will Be Stronger

  • 60/1 on Defoe scoring the only goal of the game at Liverpool - Click for full odds with Sky Bet.

Glenn Roeder is confident that Jermain Defoe is learning a lot about the rigours of Premiership life at the moment - but admits that too much responsibility is being forced on him due to lack of personnel up front.

"I have got to be honest, I am a little bit worried at the moment for young Defoe because he is having to shoulder so much responsibility - as a 19 year old who lacks the inches and body weight to lead the line.

"So often the service he has been getting has not been the greatest anyway.

"It is hard for him at the moment; in his learning curve, in the big picture, in the years to come, he will look back on this part of his career as a difficult time that he has learnt from.

"But we there is too much expectancy being carried by him trying to lead the line for us.

"I am sure when he has his most successful spell in his career he will play with a big physical striker, there is no doubt about that.

"He needs someone to feed off but we are asking him to get all the first balls that we knock out.

"At 19, and with his lack of weight and inches, we are asking Defoe to do too much too soon.

"But, all credit to him, he is battling manfully and learning all the time.

"Other people, not just me, can see the problem, and he needs a big physical presence - technically gifted, as well - alongside to take the pressure of him.

"At the moment we are asking him to play a role he is not built for.

"But he won't lose his confidence; he is super-confident and if we can only make him a few chances he will get a few more goals.

"He must keep his head up, and he will come through a stronger player mentally and physically as well."

The major problem, of course, is that Glenn does not have an alternative 'big man' up front to play alongside Jermain in the absence of Fredi Kanoute, and he says: "Even more so at home I feel that Kanoute is a massive miss for us; every team, wherever they are in the league, has got physical presence in the front half of the team.

"In my opinion you need that more at home where you are expected to attack when teams are more likely to get men behind the ball as teams have done at our place, especially when they score first.

"You do need that physical strength in your front line and with Kanoute out we have no one who can take that responsibility on.

"We have got to have that physical presence in the team; even on Sunday the Everton defenders could throw balls to him so he could bring them down and bring his midfield into play.

"It is too difficult for Defoe - it is asking too much of him at the moment to ask him to consistently play against defenders where he is giving so much height and weight away.

"It is very hard for him to get many chances with the service he is getting - we need to make more for him in the way Joe did at Fulham.

"We know he is a fantastic finisher and if you give him a number of chances the percentage he will put away will be high.

"But it is very hard for him to make his own chances."