RR: It’s been a long time since Jermain Defoe played for Sunderland. Has he still got what it takes to bag, even at 39?
Jamie: Yes absolutely. Defoe joined Rangers in search of a league title that evaded him throughout his career and as such had to remain incredibly well conditioned. He remained sharp in front of goal and even managed to score in the Old Firm. He’s still got it.
RR: Defoe’s time at Rangers was successful, and he got a taste for success. How important was he to how successful The Gers have been in recent times?
Jamie: During his time at Rangers, he epitomised what it takes to be a Ranger. As he did previously at Sunderland, he bought into the culture and became pivotal in setting standards required to win a league title. He scored some important goals on the journey in games.
RR: His time there was ended amicably. How do Gers fans look back upon Jermain Defoe and his time at the club?
Jamie: You won’t find anyone anywhere in the world with a bad word to say about Defoe from a Rangers point of view. He’s conducted himself with a level of class that we grew accustomed to at Sunderland. Rangers grew to love Defoe and his goal in the Old Firm is up there with my favourite goals in the fixture because Defoe deserved that moment.
RR: Are you surprised that he’s dropped to League One?
Jamie: Not particularly. We know Defoe loves this club and Defoe just wants to play football, somewhere where he’ll be appreciated for the player he is. Ending his career by firing Sunderland back to the championship and restarting our journey back up the leagues will be enough motivation for JD to return to Wearside.
RR: As someone who is a fan of both clubs, it must be strange seeing how Jermain has moved between the two…
Jamie: It’s certainly an odd one! I try not to get attached to players as they come and go but Defoe is one that doesn’t seem to go as he bounces between Rangers and Sunderland! It’s great that he’s idolised at both clubs for the impact he’s had. He’ll be fondly remembered on Wearside and in Glasgow regardless of what happens between now and May.
RR: The big concern around his signing has been over whether he’s going to have it in him to play alongside Ross Stewart and contribute meaningfully. Has he still got it in him to start games, or do you think he’ll be more of an option from the bench?
Jamie: I’m actually quite excited to see how he links with Ross Stewart. He’s definitely more than capable even at 39 but there should also be less pressure on him if Stewart continues to score at the rate he has this season. He’ll need to manage his game time but there’s absolutely nothing stopping Defoe contributing massively on and (perhaps more importantly) off the pitch.
RR: Are you happy that he’s back?
Jamie: Absolutely over the moon. It’s a no brainer for me. If it doesn’t work out, he leaves in the summer having been brave enough to return and try to help us out of this league.
RR: For any SAFC fans who aren’t sure about re-signing him, what would you say to them?
Jamie: It’s a risk free signing. He’s lethal in front of goal, he’s a great influence in the dressing room and he creates the sort of buzz that can cause a level of momentum that is difficult to stop. Similar to the impact Roy Keane had in that championship season. Go and do the business, JD!