STEVEN GERRARD has backed Jermain Defoe to bring out the best in his Rangers attackers as he looks polish rough diamond Fashion Sakala into an Ibrox goal hero.

Defoe continued his preparations for the new campaign with a run-out in the goalless draw against Brighton on Saturday before joining Gerrard's coaching staff for the visit of Real Madrid the following day.

Goals from summer signing Sakala and Cedric Itten clinched a memorable victory over Carlo Ancelotti's side as Rangers concluded their pre-season schedule in emphatic fashion.

Gerrard was without Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe for the friendly win but knows his former England team-mate will have a major part to play on and off the park in the coming months.

“It is his main job, Jermain," Gerrard said when asked about the influence that Defoe could have on Sakala and the other Ibrox forwards after taking a seat on the bench against Madrid.

"That is the reason that, first and foremost, we still want him as a player, because he can still do those bits of magic himself and he will be a big help over the course of the season.

“But, I am no expert in the striking department. Neither is Michael Beale, neither is Gary McAllister.

“We can help and support. But we have got an absolute expert around the box, an expert who has done it for many, many years so if he can be a help to us as a staff that is the reason why I want him alongside us.”

The performance from Sakala was the main positive to take from an encouraging weekend that saw Rangers held by the Seagulls and then produce a rousing showing against Real.

The former KV Oostende forward earned rave reviews for his Man of the Match winning efforts and quickly endeared himself to the Ibrox crowd with a clinical finish to cancel out Rodrygo's early opener.

Gerrard told RangersTV: “Listen, there is still loads to come in terms of fitness, in terms of getting him up to speed, in terms of the information that we are giving him.

“But the one thing I will say is that he has come in with an incredible attitude. He is an absolute role model to everyone where he has come from in terms of his country.

“He has come here with energy, he has been bright, he has been wanting to learn and pick up every bit of information. He is smiling, he is enjoying it and he is grateful to be here.

“He has been an absolute pleasure to work with in the opening week to ten days but there is loads more to come. You can see he is exciting.

“We still need to help him and polish the diamond but hopefully he will go on to become the player that we all expect from him.”

The equaliser from Sakala was no more than Rangers merited as they controlled large swathes of the game and created several chances against a Madrid side that included a handful of star names.

Itten would hit the winner in the closing minutes as he added to his strikes against Partick Thistle and Arsenal to stake his claim for a start in the Premiership opener with Livingston next weekend.

Gerrard said: “He has probably been the standout attacking player over the course of the pre-season.

“He has been available for the most minutes, he hasn’t missed a training session, he seems more settled in the city now that himself and his girlfriend can get about and they can socialise a bit more than they could in the first place.

“He has settled more and you can see that in his training performances and his playing minutes. He has scored three goals and he certainly looks ready.”