STEVEN GERRARD is confident Ryan Kent will continue to improve as the winger finds his fitness and form at Ibrox this term.

Kent was injured just minutes into his return outing against Livingston following his £7million move from Liverpool in September.

But his performance in the Hampden win over Hearts at the weekend was a glimpse that he is starting to get up to speed second time around. And Gerrard has backed Kent to shine against Porto in the Europa League this evening.

Gerrard said: “Kent will take some weeks to get maximum 100 per cent. But even coming in at 80 or 90 per cent, whatever number you want to put on it, he is still such a treat.

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“He’s got natural pace and natural power. He knows the game and how we want to play.

“He is such an important part of what we are trying to do here.

“Add to that the fact the fans love him and he loves being here, I’m looking forward to seeing Ryan shift through the gears in the coming weeks and getting him back to where we need him, because he is match winner for us.

“I don’t think he’s made any secret of that. He has come through at Liverpool, played Under-23 games and had different experiences going out on loan. A few have worked, a few haven’t. But he has always had that dream of playing European football and being at a big club fighting for big things.

“He’s got that now. He’s got that security. He knows he is here for a long time. He likes Glasgow, he has a girlfriend from up here and his family are happy he’s here.

“There are no excuses for Ryan now. He just needs to go out and perform to the best of his ability and I’m sure he can look back on his Rangers days and be very proud.”