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Bournemouth forward Jermain Defoe won't rule out MLS return: 'I enjoyed it'

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Defoe: MLS players could shine in Europe (4:01)

Former Toronto striker Jermain Defoe refused to rule out a return to MLS and compared DC United's Wayne Rooney's passing ability to that of Dennis Bergkamp's for Arsenal. (4:01)

Jermain Defoe has told ESPN FC he would not rule out a return to the MLS and said his move to Toronto in 2014 had come too early in his career.

Bournemouth forward Defoe, 36, scored 12 goals in 21 appearances for Toronto after leaving Tottenham but returned to the Premier League with Sunderland a year later after being told by Toronto president Tim Leiweke to "get the hell out of our way if you don't want to be here."

Defoe's year in the MLS left a strong impression on the former West Ham striker, though, and with Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both raising the profile of the league following moves to the United States this year, he would be open to a return.

"I definitely wouldn't rule it out because when I was there, I enjoyed it," he told ESPN FC. "I enjoyed going to different places, places I'd never been before.

"But even when I was there, each team we played, I always felt like there were a few players that could probably go on and play at some level in Europe.

"I think the standard is improving. I think when David Beckham went there, it [the standard] was probably nowhere near what it is now.

"It's definitely a league that's improving. I watch the games and there are some quality teams and all the stadiums are full now."

Defoe was 31 when he left England for the MLS, which is why his move to Toronto was regarded as a coup for the club and the league.

But he said he had traded the Premier League for the MLS too early.

"I think maybe [I went to the MLS too soon]," Defoe said. "It just made sense at the time because it was a good deal for both parties.

"For me going to another league, a new challenge, a club that had massive changes ... I knew the manager, Toronto is an amazing city and I looked at it and thought, David Beckham went there, Robbie Keane went there, other players.

"I thought this could be good, a new chapter in my life. And to be honest, I enjoyed it.

"My first game was against Seattle away. We left on the Thursday night, played on the Saturday, came back on the Sunday.

"That was strange. Five hours for one game, but there were something like 50,000 people at the first game, so it was like, wow this is different. But it was good."