Jermain Defoe: Player-turned-coach 'shocked' by lack of black managers and reveals own ambition
'I would love to manage Tottenham!' Jermain Defoe told Charlene White
England and Spurs legend Jermain Defoe said he would love to take over as Tottenham manager one day as the player-turned-coach spoke of his shock at the lack of black Premier League managers.
The 40-year-old under-18's Spurs academy coach explained how becoming a manger was the ultimate goal, but was sometime left wondering "what is the point doing this?"
"I don’t want to put all the hard work in and then once you’ve completed all your badges not really get an opportunity," Defoe told ITV News London.
"It is shocking [the numbers of black managers] and it’s quite sad.
"I loved football from the age of two. You do get to a point where I’m older and wiser and the last thing I want is to fall out of love with this beautiful game.
"It’s been an unbelievable journey, I’ve been blessed. I want the opportunity [to be a manger] that others have got.
"But you have to be positive and hope at some stage it will change. I would love to manage Tottenham!" he added.
Beckton-born Defoe is one of England's greatest footballers and played for premiership sides in the UK and around the World.
During his hugely successful spell at Tottenham Hotspur where Defoe made over 350 appearances and scored over 140 goals.
He also represented England 57 times and scored 20 goals making him one of the greatest all time goal scorers for the Three Lions.
Since retiring Defoe has moved on to the community game as a Spurs ambassador and academy coach helping inspire the next generation.
He added: "For me it was always the plan to finish playing and go into coaching. I love football, everyone knows that and the transition has been quite smooth with the opportunity at Tottenham to coach in the academy.
"I’ve always known the lack of black managers, and Patrick Viera has gone recently (at Crystal Palace) so there are no black managers in the Premier League and even below that.
"If you look at the Championship and League One in terms of black managers it’s the lowest it’s ever been.
"So I wonder where the opportunities are going to come from?"
More than 40 per cent of players in Premier League are black and the issue of diversity in football is something Defoe has spoken to family and friends about for years.
"I don’t think much has changed, it is quite shocking to be honest and upsetting," he said.
"When I think about the players that paved the way for me to be where I’m at - in terms of John Barnes, Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke - he went to Australia to be a manger.
"Since then I’ve had a conversation with Sol Campbell - it's difficult for Sol to get back in.
"So it has been tough but at the same time I don’t want to get disheartened - I still want to do my coaching and hopefully one day get an opportunity," he added.
In his podcast, Jermain Defoe: Outside The Box, the coach interviewed managers and ex-players.
He added: "In terms of grassroots and academy football there have been changes. But when you look higher up at first team level the number are shocking.
"I believe at some stage it has to change."
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