Glasgow (AFP) – Jermain Defoe is looking forward to linking up with former England team-mate Steven Gerrard in a bid to create “something special” at Scottish giants Rangers.
Gerrard, now the manager of Rangers, has signed veteran forward Defoe on an 18-month loan deal from English Premier League club Bournemouth.
Defoe, who won 40 of his 57 England caps alongside Gerrard, has arrived at Ibrox with Rangers riding high in the Scottish Premier League table given they are level on points with leaders and arch Glasgow rivals Celtic, the reigning champions.
The 36-year-old Defoe, whose former clubs include West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth and Sunderland, said being managed by Gerrard would feel odd at first but that he hoped his experience of playing under another relatively young manager in Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe would help him settle in to life in Scotland.
“Steven had a big influence because he is an ex-teammate and someone I have always admired and respected,” Defoe told RangersTV.
“He is a young manager and his enthusiasm is amazing. He wants to do well and like me he wants to be part of the history of Rangers and create something special.
“But even before Steven came here, I have known the size of this club and the support. They are special football fans.”
Defoe, seventh in the all-time list of leading Premier League scorers with 162 goals, added: “It might be a little bit strange having him as my manager. I had it a little bit with Eddie Howe because I was on loan at Bournemouth when I was really young but only for a few months.
“With this it will probably be a lot different, my time with England with Stevie was good and we now just have to get on with it, do the best we can and try and build something positive for the team.”
Meanwhile Defoe said the appeal of playing for Rangers was clear.
“I wanted to come here for obvious reasons — I have always known it is a massive football club,” he explained.
“The history of the club, as players those are the sorts of clubs you want to play for and do well at. You want to be part of the history if you can.
“It was an easy decision to be honest. If you love your football like me and you get an opportunity like this it is hard to turn it down.”