Noel Whelan believes that Glasgow Rangers striker Jermain Defoe’s age is catching up with him, and that his fitness has now become a worry for Steven Gerrard.
Since joining the Ibrox outfit, initially on loan in January 2019, the 37-year-old has played an important role for the 54-time Scottish champions. In 52 matches, he has scored 25 goals, 17 of which came last season alone as he finished as the club’s second-top goalscorer behind Alfredo Morelos.
However, he is yet to feature this season as an injury keeps him out of the action. And Whelan is now worried that this could be the beginning of the end of the former England international. He told Football Insider:
“I’ve got nothing but admiration for Jermain Defoe. He’s been one of the best strikers in the Premier League for a number of years.
“Sometimes, when you start picking up these injuries it’s your body telling you, it’s the wear and tear from the games you’ve played over your career is catching up with you.
“That intensity that you need to play football, sometimes your body can’t handle it and that’s the problem when you come to the back end of your career.
“It is worrying because we’ve seen what a quality player he is. In pre-season he was banging in the goals and looked very sharp.”
As Whelan says, the injury problems are a worry for both Defoe and Gerrard. At 37, it is an awful lot harder for the body to recover on a regular basis, and as such even the smallest of issues end up becoming bigger problems.
Will this be Jermain Defoe's last season as a professional?
Gerrard does have Morelos, Cedric Itten and Kemar Roofe to choose from, so it isn’t as though he is struggling for options up front, but Defoe has years of experience at the highest level which could be hugely important as the Gers look for a first major trophy since 2011.
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