Jermain Defoe admitted he “thought it was a joke” when Eddie Nketiah contacted him over the summer looking for some advice.
Defoe spent a total of ten years in north London across two spells at Tottenham during his playing career, with only Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Teddy Sheringham scoring more Premier League goals in a Spurs shirt.
Since retiring last year, the former striker has returned to Tottenham as an academy coach and also a club ambassador, working across age groups between Under-17 and U21 level.
He was therefore surprised to receive a message in the summer from Nketiah, who put the north London rivalry to one side as he asked to pick Defoe’s brain.
“He actually messaged me on Instagram,” Defoe told Premier League Productions.
“I thought it was a joke – Arsenal and Tottenham. In pre-season, he messaged me on Instagram. He wanted to speak about finishing and movement, all that sort of stuff.
“I thought you know what, I like that because that’s a young centre forward that wants to try and get as much from other players that have played the game in that position as he can. Someone who wants to learn.
He is a good finisher. When he gets chances, I believe he will score.”
Nketiah scored his first Premier League hat-trick at the weekend as Arsenal crushed Sheffield United. It was a momentous performance considering that Gabriel Jesus’ injury will keep the Gunners without him for several weeks.
The England attacker clinched the victory with a spectacular long-range strike, demonstrating his usual clinical play inside the box. Defoe was one of several who praised Nketiah for his outstanding play.
“I love him,” Defoe said. “What a player.
“I think all the stuff you want your centre-forwards to do, he does. He always gets into those areas where he is going to score.”