SPORTS

Toronto FC teammates want Jermain back, although Gilberto a little lukewarm

10/28/2014 05:13 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST
TORONTO - Star striker Jermain Defoe was an ocean away but his Toronto FC teammates showed him a lot of love Tuesday.

"I love Jermain personally. He's a great guy," said left fullback Justin Morrow. "Really great for the locker-room, funny guy. And obviously his quality on the pitch is unbelievable ... I would love to have him back, he's a great teammate."

"I love J.D. as a person, as a teammate," added right fullback Mark Bloom. "Obviously a great player. When he was healthy, he did everything right for us. He was scoring goals, he did what he was brought here to do. Unfortunately he got hurt and you can't knock him for getting hurt. It happens."

"A great teammate and a great person," echoed midfielder Collen Warner.

"Jermain has been a great guy since he came into the changing room," said Canadian international defender Doneil Henry. "He doesn't have an ego. As you can see, he can score goals. If you can keep him fit, he can score goals for the club."

Henry, 21, said the 32-year-old England star had been like a big brother.

Defoe missed Tuesday's final media availability because he was in London seeing a specialist about a persistent groin injury that limited him to 387 minutes of action over the last 18 games of the season.

There have been question marks about Defoe's future of the club, with the situation muddied a little more by an article Tuesday in the Guardian that said he was unsure of what lay ahead and that he had been hurt by comments from MLSE boss Tim Leiweke about his commitment to the club.

Defoe has shown he can do the business when healthy. He scored 11 goals in Toronto's first 16 games and led the team in scoring despite his injury woes.

Brazilian striker Gilberto, however, did not seem quite as enamoured when asked about Defoe and his uncertain future.

"I don't think about that," he said through an interpreter.

Gilberto has been a man of few words when questioned about Defoe this season. Asked why, Gilberto said: "Our relationship is good, I just feel that the person who should respond to questions about Defoe is him and the person who should respond to questions about me is me."

Captain Steven Caldwell said he expected Defoe to be back in a Toronto jersey next season.

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