JERMAIN DEFOE is hoping to extend his stay at Rangers beyond this season, and he has held initial talks with manager Steven Gerrard about signing for the club on a permanent basis.

Defoe, who turns 37 tomorrow, has been a revelation for Rangers since joining on an 18-month loan from Bournemouth in January. He has scored nine goals in 13 appearances in all competitions this season already, and he is proving to be a valuable mentor for fellow frontman Alfredo Morelos.

Despite his advancing years, Defoe says he feels sharp and able to contribute at the top level for at least another season beyond the current campaign, and he hopes that he will be able to do so at Ibrox after his Bournemouth deal runs down in the summer.

“I have spoken to the manager and he knows how much I have enjoyed my time here” Defoe said.

“I said to one of my friends recently that I haven’t been here that long really but the appreciation from the fans is something special. You don’t always get that. You get it if you score goals, but I feel like the appreciation in a short space of time.

“I sat down and had a relaxed chat with the gaffer. Even last season when I wasn’t in the team, he told me to be patient and keep doing what I was doing.

“It isn’t just about on the pitch it is off the pitch as well. Sometimes the younger players ask me questions and it is always nice to give something back and help the younger guys.

“Both parts are important, but the manager knows I love it here and I know he wants me here.”

Despite his veteran status, Defoe says he hasn’t contemplated hanging up his boots.

“I never think of stopping playing,” he said. “I just take each day as it comes.

“I have been lucky with injuries throughout my career. I have never had anything that would keep me out long term. I have damaged my ankle ligaments and that, but it has been straightforward stuff that keeps you out for say six weeks or so. Touch wood that continues.

“I feel fit and sharp. The sharpness is the thing. As you get older, you won’t be as sharp as you were when you were 25, but I still feel like I am able to get my shots off and do things I was a few years ago.

“Mentally I am in a good place.”