The 30-year-old scored twice in a routine win over Tromso in what was only his second start of the campaign, both in the Europa LeagueMichael Dawson hailed his Tottenham team-mate Jermain Defoe after the striker netted twice in the club’s 3-0 win over Tromso on Thursday night.
Spurs made light work of the Norwegian outfit in their Group K opener in the Europa League following two first half goals from the 30-year-old, who moved to within two goals of Martin Chivers’ European record of 22 goals for the north London club.
And Dawson moved to praise the application of Defoe, who has found first-team starts hard to come by following Andre Villas-Boas’ capture of £26 million Spain international Roberto Soldado.
Dawson said: “He [Defoe] is sharp, I see him on a daily basis. He’s a top player and a top finisher and two goals behind the legend [Chivers].
“Jermain is a goalscorer, you see him, he loves scoring goals, it’s as simple as that.”
Tottenham reinforced heavily over the summer, compensating for the departure of Gareth Bale by bringing in seven new faces in July and August.
Christian Eriksen, the last player through the door in a combined spend of £109m, scored his first goal for the club with a splendid 20 yard effort, and Dawson believes the competition for places is healthy.
He added: “We’ve got a top squad here, whoever plays on a weekly basis, whatever game it is you’ve got to go out there and perform, and Jermain’s done that.”
And speaking about last summer where he was almost sold to QPR, Dawson commented: “Of course it’s frustrating when you’re not playing, there’s no player who will stand here and say don’t want to play, but only 11 can play.
“You come in and train on a daily basis, work hard, when you get your chance, make sure you take it.
“We’ve got a top squad here, everyone wants each other to do well and be successful as a group.”
Spurs reached the quarter-finals of last season’s iteration of the Europa League, eventually falling on penalties to Basel, but finished second in their group behind Lazio after drawing their opening three matches.
A win over Tromso then, was valuable as Villas-Boas aims to take Spurs further in a competition he won as Porto manager.
“Last year we didn’t get the greatest starts, we kept having to fight,” Dawson continued. “Today is the first game, three points, off and running. The sooner we qualify, the better.
“Of course it is [priority is Premier League], but the way the manager took the Europa League last year, we know how much he wants to win the competition.
“You look at the players who were on show tonight, everyone wants to play, everyone’s fighting to be in the team for the Premier League, and it’s a trophy we’re taking seriously, like we did last year and hopefully this year we can go and win it.”