Gareth? I don't know a Gareth - Defoe confusion at Southgate call

Gareth Southgate's initial contacting of Jermain Defoe led to confusion for the Sunderland striker ahead of his international recall.

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe   -  Getty Images

Jermain Defoe has revealed his initial confusion when England manager Gareth Southgate got in touch to tell the Sunderland striker he was being recalled after three and a half years out of the squad.

Defoe's 14 Premier League goals this season earned him a place in Southgate's 26-man squad for matches against Germany and Lithuania, with fellow strikers Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge all unavailable.

But when Southgate tried to let Defoe know the good news, the 34-year-old did not initially realise who was messaging him.

"It was funny because on the iPhones, it pops up on the screen, but you don't see the full message," he told Sunderland's official website.

"I just saw the name. I thought, 'Gareth? I don't know a Gareth, who's this?', so I put my phone down.

"Then I looked at it - 'Hi Jermain, it's Gareth Southgate, can I give you a call when you're free?' And I said: 'Yes, no problem' and we just had a chat, really, about how I felt about England."

Defoe played against Southgate earlier in his career and he praised the England manager for his communication.

"We had a good chat," said Defoe. "He's a nice guy, someone who I played against, so we had a little laugh about that.

"I said, 'It's been a long time, I remember you kicking me years ago', but generally, he's a really nice man, to be fair. I've always had respect for him.

"I just think it's nice when managers actually pick the phone up. It's a five-minute phone call, so I appreciated the phone call and I'm obviously delighted that I'm back in there."

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