Rangers fans still can’t quite believe their luck having a player like Jermain Defoe providing the back-up to star man Alfredo Morelos.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, Defoe has made such an impact that there are already rumours of the Gers looking to secure his services for another season as reported in The Daily Record earlier in the season.
Steven Gerrard looks to have finally found the winning formula with regards to rotation of his forwards, keeping both them and the fans happy.
Morelos showed, in textbook fashion, why he is so important to the Ibrox club with the opening goal against St Johnstone on Sunday. Would things have been different if Defoe had started?
He made an immediate impact on his debut for the club scoring against Kilmarnock but his most telling contribution would come when Morelos served his final suspension of the season.
With Ryan Kent also suspended, Gerrard played a narrower formation with Scott Arfield playing behind the diminutive Englishman. Immediately Rangers improved to the extent that Morelos had to content himself with a place on the bench in the final Old Firm game of the season.
Defoe didn’t score but his dummy for Arfield’s goal more than justified his inclusion over the talismanic Colombian as did his match rating of 7.69/10 on the BBC Sport website.
This season has seen Morelos start at a blistering pace with 12 goals and 3 assists in 15 games so far this season, a goal involvement of 1 every 66 minutes. Defoe isn’t far behind with 8 goals in 12 appearances but has only played 500 minutes to Morelos’ 900.
This doesn’t mean Defoe should start ahead of Morelos, nor is there a clamber for it. The two league games in which Defoe has started provide for interesting reading. A 6-1 victory at home over Hibernian and a 1-0 away victory against St Mirren.
Against Hibs, the opponents came out and attacked Rangers, they left space behind and allowed Gerrard’s men to play through them – Defoe netted a hat-trick.
The game against St Mirren was completely different. St Mirren packed the box and frequently had all their players providing a block. There was no space for Defoe to operate in and he had one of his poorest games for Rangers with fans rating him at 5.9/10 on the BBC Sport website.
There would’ve been a temptation to rest Morelos against St Johnstone but given how they would set up, Gerrard made the correct decision to start him then bring on Defoe. The goal Morelos scored meant the Perth side had to open up and Defoe was able to capitalise with the extra space available. He could easily have had a hat-trick but for blazing his first chance over the stand.
Rangers fans can expect more of the same from Gerrard, Morelos starting against the tighter and more compact teams away from home, getting his rest against more expansive teams or at home, such as Wednesday’s visit of Livingston in the League Cup.
Gerrard recently celebrated his 75th game in charge of the Glasgow club and it looks like he is learning his lessons from last season – much to the delight of Rangers fans.