Jermain Defoe dropped from Rangers backroom staff as Giovanni van Bronckhorst outlines plan for former England striker

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has continued the shake-up of the Rangers backroom staff by confirming veteran striker Jermain Defoe will return to solely playing duties for the rest of the season.

Jermain Defoe (left) and new Rangers first team coach Roy Makaay in conversation before Sunday's Premiership fixture at Livingston. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Jermain Defoe (left) and new Rangers first team coach Roy Makaay in conversation before Sunday's Premiership fixture at Livingston. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Defoe was appointed as a player-coach with responsibilities for working with the Ibrox club’s strikers when he signed a new one-year contract under van Bronckhorst’s predecessor Steven Gerrard in June.

Since replacing Gerrard as manager last week, van Bronckhorst has appointed Roy Makaay as his strikers coach in a backroom team which also includes new assistant manager Dave Vos, strength and conditioning coach Arno Philips and analyst Yori Bosschaart.

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Defoe made just his second appearance of the season for Rangers as a stoppage time substitute in their 3-1 win at Livingston on Sunday and van Bronckhorst insists the 39-year-old still has a vital contribution to make on the pitch.

"He's been really good,” said van Bronckhorst. “When I came here, of course, he was part of the coaching staff but also a player.

"He's also busy with his training badges, which is really good because we've already started thinking about team processes and tactical possibilities.

"But for now, Jermain is still a player and we'll use him only as a player. The quality that he has is sometimes needed in games. He can still have an important role this season."

Van Bronckhorst’s striking options are set to be boosted for Wednesday night’s Premiership match against Hibs at Easter Road with the return from injury of Kemar Roofe.

The Jamaican international has missed Rangers’ last three games after being injured playing for his country in a World Cup qualifier against El Salvador earlier this month.

“Kemar was on the training pitch today, so we will assess him tomorrow and maybe he can be part of the squad on Wednesday,” said van Bronckhorst.

The Dutch coach also provided a positive update on the progress of defender Filip Helander who has been missing since suffering a serious knee injury in September.

"Filip is outside on the pitch again, so we have to slowly bring him back to fitness levels required to play games,” he added.

"Hopefully, we expect him to take part in training some time this month. He's been an important player for the team and with him being fit I have more options for the back.”

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