(Reuters) - Swansea City skipper Leon Britton believes foiling old friend Jermain Defoe will be key to his team's hopes of overcoming Sunderland in Saturday's Premier League relegation zone battle.
"If you give Jermain a chance, you know he is likely to take it. That means we have to work to cut off the supply line to him," Britton told the club website.
"We know we are going to have to work hard to stop Jermain."
"I met him when we were both 14. He was a goalscorer then and he has been ever since."
The duo first met the Lilleshall Hall sports centre and then played together for West Ham United, before Britton arrived at Swansea in 2002.
"He works hard every day on his game and he also lives his life in the right way. He is a great professional," Britton said of Defoe who has scored five times in his three games for Sunderland against the Swans.
"He is getting rewards... because he still looks as sharp now as he did when he was 24."
Bottom-placed Swansea City are on nine points, two less than 18th placed Sunderland, who will travel to the Liberty Stadium.
Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty