MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 23:22:11

Mark Hateley backs Jermain Defoe to challenge for Scottish honours

Mark Hateley backs Jermain Defoe to challenge for Scottish honours
© Reuters
The striker had left Tottenham when they lifted the League Cup in 2008.

Mark Hateley believes it will be a "tragedy" if Jermain Defoe is allowed to finish his career without lifting a trophy but is convinced the striker's move to Rangers can bring him silverware.

Defoe's goal-scoring instincts have taken him to seventh on the Premier League's all-time top goalscorers' list but his tally of 273 career strikes – with 162 netted in England's top flight – has been scantly rewarded.

He was only presented with his first winners' medal last month but even then it was a belated gift for helping Tottenham reach the 2008 League Cup final.

Defoe had already joined Portsmouth by the time Juande Ramos' team beat Chelsea to lift the trophy but was given the medal 10 years on as a special tribute from EFL bosses.

However, Hateley – who won 11 trophies over two spells at Ibrox – told Press Association Sport: "Jermain's been unfortunate through his career as he hasn't won a lot. What is it, a League Cup with Tottenham?

"He didn't even play in the final as he'd moved to Portsmouth. They then got to the FA Cup final but he was cup-tied so missed out again.

"So he's at the stage where he'll be looking to add a few pieces of silverware together.

"And he's come to this club at a time where we are hungry for that again.

"For a man who's scored 162 Premier League goals to end his career not having won a medal in his own right would be a tragedy.

"At the age he is now, that will be niggling him – but he's coming to a club that offers him the chance to put that right."

Defoe has signed an 18-month loan deal from Bournemouth but at 36 some have questioned whether he still has the legs to make an impact in Scotland.

However, speaking at the launch of Premier Sports' Scottish Cup coverage, Hateley said: "It was only 12 months ago that Jermain scored probably one of his greatest ever goals against Crystal Palace.

"You never lose that ability to find the back of the net.

"Everything the players have these days in terms of sports science is there to promote longevity and I see no reason for Jermain not to carry on for two or three years.

"This shouldn't be seen as a quick fix."

As well as Defoe, Gerrard has also lured former Gers captain Steven Davis back to Ibrox after seven years at Southampton and Hateley is not surprised to see the big names returning.

"Cast your mind back to the Graeme Souness era," he said. "When he arrived, all of a sudden the club was able to attract the England captain, the England full-back, then another England player, then another.

"The fact Souness was here was the crucial factor when I signed. I always respected him for what he'd done and his approach to the game and life. He was one of those guys that you wanted to play football for.

"That's how it works – people want to work with a character and you can see that now with Steven in charge. He carries that same kudos.

"He was a great player, a one-club man with a lot of experience. He's gone from managing a team on the pitch as Liverpool captain to now managing a team on the sidelines.

"And it's plain to see that combination is working just by the way it's attracting players to the club."

:: Premier Sports will screen the biggest games from the Scottish Cup for the next 6 years. Visit www.premiersports.com for details.


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Joe Worrall in action for Rangers on December 29, 2018
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