Jermain Defoe might now work under Steven Gerrard at Rangers but the iconic England striker has named his former international team-mate in his all-time XI.
Defoe and Gerrard’s professional relationship will have changed considerably since their time teaming together for the Three Lions but JD couldn’t see past the former Liverpool star for a berth in midfield alongside Chelsea boss Frank Lampard and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric.
Speaking to RangersTV, Defoe grouped the trio in what would be a formidable midfield that would be the match for almost any other midfield.
“I wanted to put Modric and Stevie in the same team,” Defoe said. “Obviously I knew about Stevie from when I was younger and everything he did at Liverpool. When I first got into the England squad, that was the player I wanted to play with.
“He’s like Modric in a way in that he can dictate everything, even a whole training session. Luka was really vocal and aggressive and be shouting about – and that was Rio (Ferdinand) too – but Stevie was more about leading from example. Even in training, everything was aggressive and he would wrap balls into you and expect you to control it. If you couldn’t control it, and it bounced off the striker, then he wouldn’t shout at you but he’d give you that look and you knew.
“He kept you on your toes…but yeah, special.”
Peter Crouch has also told a similar story about playing with Gerrard and getting ‘the look’ when he failed to control a pass – and it’s something that Gerrard should maybe use with his players at Rangers.
Picking your manager in these things often smacks a bit of trying to curry some favour but there can be little argument with Gerrard’s inclusion in Defoe’s XI.
Hopefully his standards can rub off on the players at Ibrox and help them improve their own levels in the race for the title.