STEVEN GERRARD is confident Rangers can strike a deal to sign Jermain Defoe next term as he insisted the Englishman is no understudy to Alfredo Morelos at Ibrox.

Defoe opened the scoring for Rangers in their 6-1 victory over Lokomotiv Trashkent on Sunday and will start Rangers’ next three matches as Morelos serves a suspension.

The 37-year-old is a free agent in the summer and boss Gerrard said: “Jermain Defoe is no understudy. I think that’s disrespectful.

“We don’t see him as an understudy, we see him as a real valuable member and asset. We can’t be successful this season without Jermain. We can’t be successful without Alfredo. We need good players in every position, I’ve said it many times.

“The way we play we don’t play with two number 9s unless we are trying to force something or we’re trying to get more goals on the pitch. They are both as important as each other.

“We want Jermain to stay, he knows exactly what the situation is. It’s in Jermain’s hands. We want him to stay and going off what I see I am hopeful something can be done. He appreciates where he is at this stage in his career and he appreciates the size of club he’s at. I think he’s loving it.”