Jermain Defoe used to be a Harry Redknapp favorite. When he was out of form and unable to score goals -- which I hear is a main goal of strikers -- he kept playing. Redknapp gave Defoe chance after chance and eventually Defoe would usually come through. But now, Defoe can always be found in the same place at the beginning of matches -- on the bench.
It's tough to figure out why Defoe has been glued to the bench. Even going up against a Manchester United defense that is less than pacey, Defoe watched as Emmanuel Adebayor and Luis Saha got the start up top. This isn't a knock on Adebayor or Saha, who played well together before, but merely a question as to what Defoe has to do to get a start in a meaningful match (starting in Wednesday's FA Cup match will not qualify).
Form cannot be the reason why Defoe isn't playing. He has scored in each of his last four Premier League starts and scored again yesterday, even if the match had already been decided. In 18 games this season, Defoe has nine goals. That's a pretty damn good ratio for a guy who makes most of his appearances off of the bench. This is a man who is scoring goals so why can't he get a start?
To be fair to Redknapp, Defoe isn't as easy a player to put in the lineup as Adebayor or Saha. Their ability to play alone up top as well as with a partner makes them easier to find a place for and their physicality is always a plus. Even so, you would think that there would be a place for a goalscorer as long as he is scoring goals. That's especially true on a team that has been wasteful, and arguably awful, in the final third. So maybe it is time to find a place for Defoe?