Former Celtic target Josh Maja has heaped praise on Rangers striker Jermain Defoe for helping him improve as a striker at Sunderland.

Maja, 21, was wanted by Brendan Rodgers during his time at Parkhead but opted instead to make the move to France with Bordeaux in Ligue 1. The switch - whilst working with Jack Ross at the Stadium of Light - came after he rejected a £6,000 per-week wage packet at Sunderland.

The young attacker spent four years at the Black Cats from 2015 in his youth career until 2019, during which time Defoe worked alongside him, improving his finishing and giving special hints and tips on how to become a better overall player.

Maja told Touchline Fracas: "Going in [to Sunderland], Jermain Defoe was probably one of my biggest admirers because I think he just liked the fact that I was good at finishing.

"He liked me a lot and was able to give me advice on different tips, different ways of finishing, disguising keepers, disguising defenders, short back lift, different techniques and it was a good time because Sunderland were doing well, I was learning and I was getting experience and I was enjoying my time.

"There were a few, I’d say Defoe just because small sided games, he was the go to guy. If you had him in your team, you were likely to win."

Maja scored seven goals in 22 appearances for Bordeaux last season.