Sunderland should not explore the possibility of re-signing Jermaine Defoe from Rangers this summer, according to Kevin Phillips.
The Stadium of Light legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, said the 38-year-old has been a “magnificent player” but he would rather see his former club focus on bringing young players through.
Football Insider revealed on Thursday that the centre-forward is expected to leave Ibrox at the end of the season but does not want to call time on his playing career.
Defoe has scored four goals in 12 appearances across all competitions for Steven Gerrard’s side this term and is out of contract in the summer.
The former England international is held in high regard on Wearside, having scored 37 goals in 93 appearances for the Black Cats between 2015 and 2017.
When asked if Sunderland should consider re-signing Defoe if they gain promotion to the Championship, Phillips told Football Insider: “Would Lee Johnson want him around?
“I am not so sure. Defoe has been a magnificent player but I do not know if a return to the Stadium of Light would be right.
“Sunderland have been down that route before with players and manager and it has not worked.
“Defoe would command a decent wage as well. He would not come cheap, even at his age.
“I think it is time to start fresh, move on and look to the youth. Look at players who will be there for a while, not just someone who would be there for a year.
“Defoe has been fantastic and was fantastic at Sunderland but I would look elsewhere. I would take a different approach because it has backfired in the past.”