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Jermain Defoe wants to be a trailblazer for black football managers

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Jermain Defoe, the former Sunderland forward and England international, has not let the challenges and low representation of black and ethnic minority managers in English football deter him from pursuing his dream of becoming a coach. Despite contemplating giving up on his managerial aspirations, Defoe remains determined to follow in the footsteps of trailblazers like Chris Hughton and pave the way for future black coaches.

Having retired from playing in 2022, Defoe has spent the past 18 months coaching in the Tottenham Hotspur academy. He acknowledges the hurdles faced by black coaches in securing managerial roles, especially highlighted by recent sackings of Darren Moore and Troy Deeney.

However, Defoe draws inspiration from the long and successful coaching career of Chris Hughton, who has managed clubs like Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion. Defoe believes that his own journey into coaching can serve as a beacon of hope for the next generation of aspiring coaches, demonstrating that opportunities are achievable through hard work and dedication.

Despite acknowledging the challenges and frustrations within the industry, Defoe is resolute in his commitment to earning a managerial role based on merit and ability rather than ticking diversity boxes. He remains confident that his passion for football, combined with his coaching experience and qualifications, will eventually lead to an opportunity.

Defoe has already made an impact in his coaching role at Tottenham, contributing to the success of the Under-18s team and nurturing young talents. While his current focus is on developing academy players, Defoe has received interest from clubs regarding his managerial ambitions and has plans for his coaching staff when he takes on a head coach role in the future.

He remains closely connected to Tottenham, having spent a significant portion of his playing career there, and is impressed by the positive atmosphere fostered by current manager Ange Postecoglou. Defoe believes that under Postecoglou’s guidance, the club is experiencing a resurgence both in performance and atmosphere, which bodes well for its future success.

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