'Why not?' - Former Rangers striker makes claim for Sunderland manager's job after Michaele Beale exit

Former Rangers boss Michael Beale was sacked by the English Championship club in February.

Former Rangers striker Jermain Defoe has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next Sunderland manager, following Michael Beale’s sacking earlier this season.

English Championship side Sunderland are currently without a permanent manager, following their decision to part ways with Beale after just nine weeks in charge. The 43-year-old lost six of his 10 games at the Stadium of Light and did little to endear himself with the fanbase.

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Defoe, who ended his playing career at Sunderland following a two-year spell at Rangers, has been an academy coach at Tottenham Hotspur and has made clear his desire to enter management. And it could come sooner rather than later.

“If I got a phone call now and they said ‘Do you want to be Sunderland manager?’ When you’ve had these dreams [to go into managing] it’d be a dream because I understand it’s a massive club, it’s a Premier League club,” Defoe told reporters during the launch of his Jermain Defoe Academy at East Durham College. “Why not?”

“Even when I was a player, I always used to say I'd love to manage this club. I don't know if other players are like that if other players have a relationship with fans and a club and think they'd love to manage this club. I played with Paulo Di Canio, he went on to manage and managed this club, John O'Shea, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, I spoke to Antonio Conte when he was at Tottenham last season about his journey into the game.

“I spoke with Gareth Southgate, I sat down with Gareth on one of my courses, I was lucky enough to sit down with him for two or three hours and talk to him about his journey at Middlesbrough, 35, going from being captain to all of a sudden getting a call in the summer asking him to become manager. Everyone's journey is different. If I got an opportunity, I wouldn't shy away from it, let's go. The most important thing is knowing who you'll take with you and I've got that.”

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