Jermain Defoe has been scoring goals this season, although it is clear that Harry Redknapp does not currently regard him as first-team material, with Rafael Van Der Vaart being preferred in the attacking role behind Emmanuel Adebayor.
Defoe has managed to find the net six times in the Premier League despite only making six starts and the 29-year-old admits that he is getting frustrated by a lack of chances, especially with Euro 2012 on the horizon.
He told The Sun: “I’m 29, I need to play football. It’s as simple as that. There’s a tournament in the summer.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in one tournament for my country. I want to play in one again as I know if I play in a tournament I’ll do well.
“I am working hard in the gym. I did a lot of work in the summer to get to this position and I’m not going to waste it by sitting on the bench when I know I should play.
“If I was about 21 I could sit on my hands. But I’m 29 and want to play football now every week.”
Redknapp clearly rates Defoe and will only be wanting to offload Roman Pavlyuchenko during the January transfer window, although the former is struggling to be benched even after scoring in previous matches.
Defoe added: “It’s hard to explain the feeling when you’re starting games, scoring, the team is winning and you’re not playing in the next game. There’s nothing more you can do as a footballer.
“If you’re playing well and scoring and, the most important thing, the team is winning, and you are not being picked again, it’s difficult. What else am I supposed to do?
“It’s well documented that I’ve been in the team, scored goals and then been taken out of the team. For whatever reason, I don’t know.
“It’s out of my hands. What can I say? I can just do what I’ve got to do and make sure when I play, I play well. That’s it really.”