Giovanni van Bronckhorst has removed Jermain Defoe from coaching duties at Rangers – but stressed the veteran striker can still play a vital on-field role this season.
Defoe signed a 12-month player-coach contract during the summer to stay at Ibrox under Steven Gerrard’s management.
However, the 39-year-old had played only eight minutes of first-team action prior to being introduced from the bench by Van Bronckhorst in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Livingston.
Jermain Defoe has been removed from Rangers’ coaching staff by Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
The new Ibrox boss has brought in former Holland and Bayern Munich striker Roy Makaay as part of his coaching team, which would limit Defoe’s training ground involvement.
Van Bronckhorst instead expects the ex-England international to have opportunities to add to his 32 goals for Rangers since joining the club in 2019.
‘He’s been really good,’ the Ibrox boss said of Defoe. ‘When I came here, of course he was part of the coaching staff but also a player.
‘He’s also busy with his training badges, which is really good because we’ve already started thinking about team processes and tactical possibilities.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has brought his own coaching staff to Ibrox after replacing Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager earlier this month
‘But, for now, Jermain is still a player and we’ll use him only as a player. The quality he has is sometimes needed in games.
‘Of course, Kemar (Roofe) has been out for the last two games. Jermain couldn’t play in Europe because he wasn’t eligible but I think he can still have an important role this season.’
Roofe last played for Rangers on November 7, but Van Bronckhorst is optimistic he might be able to figure in his plans for tomorrow’s trip to Easter Road.
‘I think we don’t have any other injuries for tomorrow,’ he said. ‘Everyone came out of the (Livingston) game really good.
The Dutchman has said Defoe will only be used as a player from now on this season
‘Kemar Roofe was on the training pitch today so we will assess him tomorrow and maybe he can be part of the squad on Wednesday.’
Van Bronckhorst also hopes Filip Helander will be restored to his plans in the weeks ahead. Out since undergoing knee surgery in September, the Sweden defender is gradually stepping up his recovery programme.
‘Filip is outside on the pitch again, so we have to slowly bring him back to fitness levels required to play games,’ said the Rangers boss
‘Hopefully, we expect him to take part in training some time this month. He’s been an important player for the team and, with him being fit, I have more options for the back.’
With Leon Balogun also out injured, young left-back Calvin Bassey moved inside to join Connor Goldson at centre-back for the wins over Sparta and Livingston and is likely to continue in that role at Easter Road.
‘I’ve been really impressed,’ added Van Bronckhorst. ‘He’s a really talented defender. Normally he plays in the left-back position but doesn’t have much experience in the centre back area. So I’m really happy with his performances so far.
‘I think he has the physical ability to play there. We will help him a lot in that position, when he has to pass, when he has to dribble, the positioning he has to take when the other defender has got the ball.
‘He’s a player who is very open to learning and he gives a lot of energy to the team. The last two games, I’m really happy with the way he played.’