Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe has admitted that he considered leaving the club during the January transfer window, and insists that five months later nothing has changed.
The England striker has reportedly grown frustrated at his lack of first team action this season, playing second fiddle to Harry Redknapp's preferred pairing of Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart.
As reported by Sky Sports, a candid Defoe spoke of his disappointment of sitting on the bench, conceding that he approached Redknapp asking for a loan-move.
“I didn't want to leave. I don't go thinking, 'I want to go to this club or that club,'” he said.
“But in January I just wasn't playing enough and I did go to the manager and ask to go out on loan.
"He said to me, 'I don't want you to go out on loan. We are trying to do something special here. Don't go.' And so I stayed. And I worked hard to keep myself sharp."
However, the former West Ham and Portsmouth striker remained on the bench, and after making only 11 starts this season, suggests that his attitude is the same as before.
“It still feels like I will only get a game if someone is injured or suspended," he continued.
“Sometimes I even feel like I'm in the youth team, because I know that, whatever I do in midweek, I won't get a game at the weekend.
"The manager picks the team and I would never be disrespectful to the manager. But when someone doesn't talk to you and explain what's going on it's hard.
"I love the club. Everybody knows that. When I'm out and people ask whether I am leaving I always say 'no'. But how can I stay somewhere that I don't get the chance to play?"
Despite appearing as a bit-part player for Tottenham this season, Defoe has still managed to bag 16 goals in all competitions.
He is hoping that his abilities as an impact substitute will play in his favour when Roy Hodgson comes to select his England squad for the European Championships on Wednesday.
With injuries to Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck, and Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two group games, Defoe could well be a surprise selection given his impressive international strike rate.
“The manager [Hodgson] is a football man. Having been at a tournament before [taking Switzerland to USA 94], he will also know it's all about having people who can come in and get you a goal.
"Other people may have done that in qualifiers but in big international tournaments - when the pressure is on to get a goal or go home - it is much harder.
"I'm hoping that, having done that before, I can do it again,” he concluded.