Steven Gerrard has confirmed a semi-surprise but still significant shocker by omitting Jermain Defoe for the group stage of the Europa League.
The veteran striker has found playing time scarce this season, with no starts and a few sub cameos, and despite signing a permanent deal in the summer has in fact played a lot less than he did as a loan.
Now 38, Defoe played a key role in Rangers’ excellent split performance of 2019, and got an excellent 42 appearances under his belt last campaign, but this season has been mostly on the outside looking in.
It is a curious direction for the club to go with a player we made permanent, and indeed he was only ever signed as a deputy for, at the time, Alfredo Morelos and for the depth, but now with his being axed from the group stage of the Europa League we can only surmise he’s being kept exclusively for the SPL.
But this is an interesting choice, given his age and experience – would his play style and CV not suggest he’d be particularly useful in Europe?
But instead it seems he will be exclusively used for depth in the domestic arena, albeit saying that he’s only been a sub in that context as well.
At his age, we suspect a gradual transition into the coaching or staff side, because he doesn’t have long in his boots left.