Soccer-Hamstring injury denies Defoe chance of final Spurs match


By Mike Collett

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Jermain Defoe will miss what would have been his last match for Tottenham Hotspur because he is suffering with a hamstring injury, manager Tim Sherwood said on Wednesday.

Defoe, 31, was expected to make his 364th and final appearance for Spurs against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in their Europa League last 32, second leg match at White Hart Lane on Thursday when they will try to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit.

"He will be at the game to say his goodbyes at halftime," said Sherwood before praising the fans' favourite who is the fifth highest scorer in the club's history.

"Jimmy Greaves was the best, but you would say Jermain has also been one of the best goalscorers this club has ever seen.

"Lets hope we can find another one like Jermain Defoe.

"He has been all about goals. Whenever he put on the shirt he always played with all his heart and spirit for the club. Everyone appreciates his efforts. He is a legend at the club."

Defoe, who still hopes to be included in Roy Hodgson's England squad for this year's World Cup finals in Brazil, is joining Major League Soccer club Toronto FC.

Although he officially signed for the Canadian outfit last month, he has been on loan back at Tottenham since then with a view to leaving this week to prepare for the new MLS season.

Defoe scored 143 goals in all competitions during his two spells at White Hart Lane and was expected to play against Dnipro and try to add to his club record of 23 European goals which he established earlier this season.

His last match for Spurs was a brief substitute appearance in the 1-0 home Premier League win against Everton on Feb. 9 and his last goal came in the 2-0 home victory over Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on Jan. 11.

He originally joined Tottenham in 2004 and stayed until 2008 before spending a year at Portsmouth. Defoe returned to north London in January 2009 and made more appearances and scored more goals in his second spell than he did in his first.

There was better news for Spurs regarding Brazilian midfielder Sandro who has returned to full training following a calf injury that has kept him out since December.

Right back Kyle Walker (hip) could also return but they will be without midfielder Etienne Capoue and left-back Danny Rose after they picked up knee injuries in Sunday's 1-0 league defeat at Norwich City which left them six points off fourth place. (Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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