Nigel Winterburn has suggested that Jermain Defoe's success and longevity is unnatural, and hinted that the opportunity to take Rangers back to the top of Scottish football is helping drive the striker on as he approaches his 37th birthday, in comments reported by the Daily Record.
Defoe has proved to be a fantastic signing for Steven Gerrard's side. He has scored 11 goals in just 18 Scottish Premiership appearances, and opened his account for the current campaign with a perfect hat-trick against Hibernian at the weekend.
It is remarkable to think that the former England international is less than two months away from turning 37. And Winterburn - who played alongside Defoe at West Ham and went on to play until he was 39 - insisted that the forward is showing no sign of winding down, while adding his opinion that the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic is helping to prolong his career.
“It doesn’t come naturally that he’s still producing what he is at that sort of age. He’s clearly looked after himself very well and occasionally you get players who can play well beyond what is usually considered retirement age," he said, as reported by the Daily Record.
“You’ve also got the competition between Celtic and Rangers, which is enough to drive anyone forward. You can debate the quality of the Scottish Premiership all you like but to be given the opportunity to be part of Rangers at that age and play in those sort of games can only inspire you," he went on to add.
It is looking like a major coup for Rangers to get Defoe in on loan. While he did struggle at Bournemouth, there are probably not too many teams outside the Premier League - and perhaps some in the division - that would turn down the chance to land the striker.
He has scored goals at almost club he has joined, and the Gers are proving to be no different. But the example he is setting is also likely to prove beneficial to Gerrard's squad.
Defoe is setting the standard with his performances on the pitch. And if his hat-trick against Hibs was a sign of what is to come from the veteran this season, then Rangers must have every chance of ending their wait for silverware before this current loan comes to an end.
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