JERMAIN Defoe expressed his desire to climb the list of legendary Premier League hitmen and reach the division’s all-time top-five.

With 162 top-flight goals, the Cherries striker is seventh in the table of goalscoring greats - the highest scorer still to be playing at England’s elite level.

The 35-year-old frontman is just one behind Robbie Fowler in sixth, while 14 more league goals would see Defoe overhaul Thierry Henry and reach the top five outright.

All-time top scorer Alan Shearer heads the list with 260 goals, 52 ahead of second-place Wayne Rooney (208). Andy Cole (187) and Frank Lampard (177) make up the top four.

Defoe has two years remaining on his Cherries contract having last summer signed from Sunderland on a free transfer.

While he did not rule out continuing to play after that time, the England international admitted every strike was important to cementing his legacy.

Speaking ahead of Cherries’ Premier League opener against Cardiff on Saturday (3pm), he told the Daily Echo: “I understand every goal I score now and towards the end of my career, I am moving up on that list.

“I am one behind Robbie Fowler. If I could beat Thierry on 175 that would be good. I don’t mind beating Lamps on 177 because he’s my friend!

“On a personal note it’s special because, as a kid, I was obsessed with goals. I always thought if I could score one goal in the Premier League it would be special.

“When I finish playing, if I could sit there and think ‘right, you are in the top-five all-time goalscorers in the Premier League’ it would be one of those moments where you would probably have to pinch yourself.”

Defoe’s top-flight strikes have come for the likes of West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Cherries.

Asked whether he regularly looked at the list, he replied: “I do because it’s all positive thinking, the law of attraction and you set yourself goals. I think you have to be like that.

“If you can score more goals than someone like Thierry Henry - a World Cup winner, a legend and someone who I have played against so many times. Even being on the pitch and playing against him thinking ’I can’t even believe this’ it would be crazy.

“They are all legends of the game. Rooney is a legend, I have played with Wazza and he’s an unbelievable footballer.

“There’s the main man Alan Shearer but even the players who are beneath me like Ian Wright – I loved Wrighty as a kid.

“Les Ferdinand scored 149 and should have had 150 but had one taken away from him – he always reminded me of that one.”

Defoe is one of 28 players to have reached a century of Premier League goals with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, on 143, the next player still featuring in the division.

He added: “When you finish playing, I am sure there will be players who will be coming through looking at the list and one day thinking ‘I want to go past Jermain Defoe’. That’s what happens.”