Rangers: Jermain Defoe to be used as player only by Scottish Premiership champions

Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists Defoe still has a major role at Rangers; the striker signed a new one-year deal in the summer; Englishman made just his second appearance of the season at Livingston; watch Hibernian v Rangers live on Sky Sports on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm

The veteran striker signed a new deal at Rangers in the summer
Image: Jermain Defoe signed a new deal at Rangers in the summer

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has backed Jermain Defoe to play an 'important' role on the pitch for Rangers after confirming the striker will not be part of his coaching staff.

The 39-year-old former England international was handed a player-coach role by Steven Gerrard when he signed a new one-year deal in the summer.

New boss Van Bronckhorst has brought in his own coaching staff with Roy Makaay, former Ajax youth expert Dave Vos, Yori Bosschaart and Arno Phillps arriving at Ibrox, meaning Defoe is no longer needed on the touchline.

However, the Dutchman wants to get the striker more involved on the pitch again after bringing him on for just his second appearance of the season during Sunday's 3-1 win at Livingston.

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Van Bronckhorst said: "Jermain's been really good. When I came here of course he was part of the coaching staff but also a player.

"He's also busy with his training badges, which is really good because we've already started thinking about team processes and tactical possibilities.

"But for now Jermain is still a player and we'll use him only as a player.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership clash between Livingston and Rangers

"The quality that he has is sometimes needed in games.

"Of course, Kemar Roofe has been out for the last two games. Jermain couldn't play in Europe because he wasn't eligible but I think he can still have an important role this season."

Roofe is set to return to the Ibrox squad for Gers' match against Hibernian at Easter Road on Wednesday, which is live on Sky Sports.

The manager also hopes Filip Helander will be back soon too.

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Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst says the club must be ready for the January transfer window

The Sweden defender has not featured since undergoing knee surgery back in September but is back out on the pitch.

Van Bronckhorst said: "We have to slowly bring him back to fitness levels required to play games.

"Hopefully, we expect him to take part in training some time this month."

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