The 34-year-old was handed an opportunity to lead the line for his country for the first time in four years and vindicated his selection by slotting home an early goal.
Jamie Vardy was brought on for the closing stages of the game and poked home from close range to help take the Three Lions five points clear at the top of Group F.
But the day belonged to Defoe and the Sunderland striker was thrilled to have forced his way back into the international fold.
"I enjoyed it - its been a good week," he told ITV. " It's nice to score but the win is important.
"It's hard to put into words I had to keep my emotions in the beginning - just to be back is a great feeling."
Harry Kane's injury contributed to Defoe's recall but the Sunderland striker has not ruled out being called upon by Gareth Southgate again in the future.
"I've got to go back to my club and finish the season strong - the same as all the boys - get my head down and see what happens," he added.
"They're going to come and sit back - it's up to us to break them down and it keeps us progressing.
"He [Southgate] wanted me to break the lines and force them back," said the Leicester man.