FOOTBALLING heroes like Jermain Defoe may be seen by supporters as impervious on the pitch, but the Rangers forward was given a reminder recently that life is fragile no matter who you are.

Defoe was involved in a car crash in Glasgow as he made his way home last week, with the 36-year-old and the other parties involved mercifully escaping the incident with minor injuries.

The experience has made Defoe appreciate his health all the more, and he has been humbled by the deluge of messages he has received from friends and fans alike since the smash. Although, some people, like his mum Sandra, were perhaps a little over-concerned.

“The car crash was scary,” Defoe said. “Luckily, I was in a big car. It was just outside the Clyde Tunnel.

“It was strange, though, because when it happened there was another car beside me. On the impact, we'd hit another car which I didn't realise at the time. It wasn't until later that evening the Police told me that another car had been involved.

“There were two women and a little kid in the car and one of them messaged me on Instagram, asking me if I was OK. She told me they were in the car beside me. I thought about it, if I was a little bit further forward and that car had hit the smaller one, it would have been bad. And there was a little kid in there. When you think about it like that, it could have been a lot worse.

“I was aware pretty straight away that people were concerned about me. I was shocked when I stepped out the car.

“But within minutes, there was a roadblock and a few people came over. You can imagine, they all had their phones out, which is normal these days. So, I knew that, at some point, it would be everywhere.

“I just didn't want my mum to find out. Because I knew that I was OK, I was obviously going to tell her later. But then I panicked a little bit. Allan McGregor was a few cars in front and came back to get me. He took me and Nicole home.

“My only worry was my mum finding out. Because I know what she's like, she panics. She actually jumped on the next flight up, it's so funny thinking about it now.

“I phoned her but didn't know how to tell her. She's so extreme. I said: 'Mum I've been in a car accident'. And she said: 'What? Are you sure you're OK, have you been to the hospital'?

“I said: 'Mum, I'm fine, I've just got a little bit of whiplash'. But she got the next flight out. She's unbelievable, it was so typical of her.

“I've never been involved in anything like that before and hopefully it'll never happen again.”

Among the many goodwill messages and calls Defoe received, perhaps the funniest, and most abrupt, came from his close friend and fellow Rangers striker, Alfredo Morelos.

“I got so many messages, especially from all of the boys,” he said.

“Buff (Morelos) called me, he was at home with his friend. A voice said: 'Bro, are you OK'? I said: 'Who's that'? He said: 'It's Alfredo'.

“Then his friend came on and explained that he just wanted to check I was OK. He gave Alfredo the phone back and he said: 'OK bro, bye'.

“I was laughing. But all the lads were great, checking I was alright.”

Despite the language barrier and the fact they are directly competing against each other, the relationship between Defoe and Morelos has blossomed of late, with the young Colombian finding a friend and mentor in his vastly experienced teammate.

“He is a good guy,” Defoe said. “People that don’t know him they think he is different but he is a nice guy, He is always laughing and joking with the boys.

“His English has come on and he makes an effort with the boys. He is a good boy to have in the dressing room. I would like to think I have been a good influence on him.

“We speak quite a lot and we are close now Daniel Candeias has gone. When we knew Daniel was going, I thought it might be difficult for Alfredo because they were quite close, and it isn’t easy when you are so young and your friend leaves. You have to make the effort and I feel we have bonded.

“Even on the flight home from Switzerland he said: ‘Bro, what seat are you in?’ and it was nice he wanted to sit near me. He calls me Bro, a lot of the boys call me Uncle. Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo call me that and it makes me feel old.”

From the outside looking in, it seems as if Defoe has had an influence on mellowing out his protégé, with Morelos seemingly having curbed the ill-discipline that marred an otherwise outstanding season on a personal level last term.

But Defoe says that his improved behaviour this season is all down to Morelos himself.

“I didn’t chat to him about his discipline, but I think he knows now,” he said. “With the squad we have now, if you are getting sent off and you are missing four or five games, then you won’t get back in the team if boys come in and do well. If the team go on a good run when you are out then you shouldn’t get back in.

“With the discipline you know if you let the team down, for important games where they drop points, it can’t happen. I think he realises that now.

“He scored 30 goals last season and it could have been a lot more, but he missed opportunities to score goals by getting sent off. People make mistakes and he is still young.

“I remember when I was at West Ham as a youngster and I got sent off a few times throughout the season. I sat and thought about missing all these games that I could score in and it got to the point where I thought I have to calm down and focus on the things I do well. You don’t have to get involved in things.

“The older boys have been good with him to try and help. The manager said in pre-season that the discipline has to be right within the squad. It is a massive football club and you can’t be getting sent off. The manager doesn’t want to be talking about players being ordered off, he wants to be talking about winning games and how well we have played.

“I think the games at the end of last season was a wake-up call for him. It would be if it was me. He sat and watched the games thinking he wanted to be part of that, especially as we went on a good run towards the end of the season. He seems a lot calmer now and he is getting on with things and doesn’t get involved in things. He is getting his goals and hopefully he can keep doing that.”