By Danny Wright
Jermain Defoe has admitted that he regrets the way that he left West Ham.
The current Sunderland striker handed in a transfer request following the Hammers’ relegation from the Premier League in the 2002/03 season which was initially rejected.
He didn’t feature a lot in the following season in the second-tier and was eventually sold to Tottenham in January 2004 after coming under fire from both the fans and his teammates.
Defoe, 34, blames his indiscretion on his, and his agent’s, lack of inexperience at the time and is sure that he’ll never repeat the mistake again.
“I did something wrong, I hold my hands up about it and take responsibility. I was a young lad back then and didn’t really understand what was going on,” said the 56-times England international to FourFourTwo.
“When we got relegated, my agent, who was also inexperienced at the time, said, “You need to hand in a transfer request as everybody else is going to leave.” I was young and naive, and all I was really thinking about was wanting to play football.”
“Would I do the same thing now? No way. I would never hand in a transfer request and I would never advise a young lad to do it, either.”
Defoe made 94 appearances during his spell at Upton Park, scoring 29 goals in all competitions.
His career has since seen him play at Tottenham in two different spells as well as stints at Portsmouth and MLS club Toronto.
The 34-year-old has been at the Stadium of Light since 2015 but his exploits in front of goal this term haven’t been able to prevent Sunderland from being relegated from the Premier League.
He has found the net 15 times in the league this season in 37 appearances.
Defoe’s eye for goal saw him recalled to the England national team in March when he scored in the 2-0 win over Lithuania in what was his 20th goal for the Three Lions.