Jermain Defoe has scored 32 goals in 72 appearances for Rangers; the veteran former England striker has opted to extend his playing career after winning the Premiership title with Rangers at the age of 38
Tuesday 8 June 2021 17:21, UK
Jermain Defoe will join Rangers manager Steven Gerrard's backroom team after signing a new one-year player-coach deal.
The veteran former England striker faced a decision on whether or not to continue playing after claiming his first winners' medal at the age of 38 with Gers' Premiership title triumph.
But he has now decided to delay hanging up his boots for another season at least after taking up an offer to take his first steps into coaching alongside former England team-mate Gerrard.
Defoe, who joined Rangers in January 2019, said: "It is well-documented how much I love the club and the relationship I have with the fans, the players and the staff at the club.
"So to get the deal over the line, I am just delighted. It is something I wanted to happen, even before the season finished, especially the way we finished the season with winning the league.
"It was the perfect time to be at the football club and it was so special, so to sign another contract as a player/coach, and to still be a part of it, it is an amazing feeling for me and my family.
"It is something different and it is something new for me, and first of all, I want to thank the board, Ross (Wilson) and the manager and all the staff that have made this happen.
"It is an unbelievable opportunity for me and it just shows the appreciation I get from everyone at the football club which is the best feeling in the world more than anything else, and I can imagine once I get started, hopefully I will just flow into it and everything will happen quite naturally."
Defoe has scored 32 goals in 72 appearances for Rangers, including four goals in their unbeaten Scottish Premiership title-winning season.
Gers manager Steven Gerrard said: "I am absolutely delighted to be retaining the services of Jermain both as a player, and now also as a coach.
"It is well-documented the relationship I have with him having known him for so many years, and I am thrilled that he is going to be passing on his amazing experience and professionalism to the attacking players throughout the club.
"He has shown this season, however, what an asset he can still be for us on the pitch, and I won't be afraid to use him when necessary."
Sporting director, Ross Wilson, said: "Jermain will now transition towards the next part of his career into a player/coach role and I am delighted we have reached an agreement to restructure his contract to reflect this.
"JD's popularity and influence on our squad is clear while our academy players and particularly young attacking players will only learn and develop by working with someone of his calibre. I'm delighted that his positive influence will continue and I am sure extend."