Nelsen hails instant impact of Jermain Defoe

Last updated 11:17 17/03/2014

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Toronto FC's Kiwi coach Ryan Nelsen has hailed England international striker Jermain Defoe's two-goal start to his American Major League Soccer career.

Defoe struck both goals in Toronto's 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders in the MLS opening round yesterday.

The former Tottenham Hotspur marksman was one of four major signings by Nelsen in the off-season, alongside United States international Michael Bradley and the Brazilian pair, goalkeeper Julio Cesar and striker Gilberto.

Nelsen, who played alongside Defoe at Spurs in the English premier league, said the new man had made an instant impact.

"That was Jermain Defoe," Nelsen told "Let's just say I'm not surprised. When the ball falls in those situations, he puts them away. That's why we brought him in. I was hoping he'd get in those scenarios and he got in them."

Nelsen was also pleased with Bradley's debut as Toronto's midfield general.  

"What Michael brings is an absolute energy," Nelsen said. "His character, his confidence, is infectious on people. He made Seattle turn over the ball a lot of times. He got into very nice positions.

"You need character and strength to battle what the opposition throw at you and Michael was right in the middle of everything."

Nelsen is seeking to turnaround Toronto's fortunes after the Canadian club finished 17th last season, his first term as head coach after ending an eight-year career in the English premier league with Blackburn Rovers, Spurs and Queen's Park Rangers.

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- Fairfax Media

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