Steven Gerrard has revealed that the Rangers have entered talks with Jermain Defoe as they plan the next stage in the forward’s career.
The 38-year-old former England striker has proven he can still play a role for the new champions Gerrard by finishing Old Firm’s 4-1 win on Sunday against Celtic with a goal in added time. His first derby strike was Defoe’s sixth goal in 18 outings this season.
But with Defoe’s Ibrox contract expiring in June, he has been linked with a potential return to Sunderland, if Lee Johnson’s side were to seal the promotion to the championship in the League One play-offs.
However, Defoe also opened up about his desire to become a coach as he wraps up his playing career. Now Gerrard has confirmed talks have taken place to chart the player’s future.
“It goes without saying that Jermain Defoe is someone for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration,” said the Rangers boss.
“He’s been a great player. He’s had a great career. Getting him up here in the first place was something I was keen to do, because I knew he would help the squad in the way they are going to run their business. He’s a top professional.
“We’re in talks with Jermain right now about what to do next for Jermain. But we want to be really respectful, we want to give him time to make his own decisions.
“I think he’s at a point in his life where we’re going to listen to Jermain and see what he wants to do to move forward.
“We’ll take it from there. I don’t think it’s fair for me to disclose now what has been said from my perspective and his. But we will certainly respect Jermain in terms of his own decisions going forward. . “
Gerrard also expressed his thirst for success after sampling the scenes following the Rangers’ title triumph last month.
“At the start of the season, just coming back to the training ground and training was a real highlight,” he said.
“I had a really good impression of the season. We had a lot of discussions during the lockout, a lot of one-on-one and group meetings with the team.
“I had a really special feeling from the players. But obviously on the night of the St Mirren game when we crossed the 55 point of view line (55th Rangers league title), I think that has been my best feeling at Rangers.by a long
“It made me want to go and try to build on it now and do more.
“It was a big part of the mission when I came here – what they wanted. So doing it in this historic year was a really special feeling for everyone connected with the club and I think it must be. the climax.”
Gerrard reveals Jurgen Klopp’s advice ahead of joining Rangers
Gerrard still remembers the advice he received from Jurgen Klopp before becoming Rangers manager in 2018.
It has been three years since Gerrard took charge of Ibrox and will mark that milestone in style when Rangers lift the Premiership trophy for the first time in ten years.
But the 40-year-old won’t get too carried away thanks to a conversation with Klopp while still at Liverpool.
Gerrard said Sky Sports: “I remember having a conversation with Jurgen about management before I even took on this role – ‘what are some of the key things you can tell me? What can I take away from you that will help me move on. before?’
“He always said to try to be as balanced as possible. Now I know exactly why he said that.
“Because this trip takes you everywhere – incredible feelings, but it also brought me down.”
Gerrard plans to sit down and analyze the season in a few weeks, but says thoughts will quickly turn to the next campaign.
“I will be extremely proud of what we have accomplished, I will reset myself and do whatever I need to do in the background to try to make this group as strong and competitive as possible,” he said.
“I’m as ambitious as anyone related to this club. I want to try to get this Champions League football club and defend our title with our life, and I want to put the cup back well because it doesn’t go well with it. me.
“I want to come back to the preseason with a good chance of succeeding, that’s all I ask. I hope the board will support me and we will be back.”