Craig Gordon has insisted he doesn’t bear any grudges against Jermain Defoe, the player he blames for breaking his arm, but he hasn’t forgotten the incident nearly ten years on, writes David Hardie.
The goalkeeper was left furious with Rangers’ new signing after the clash while he was playing for Sunderland against Tottenham Hotspur, believing the striker could have done more to avoid the collision.
Gordon needed three operations, had a metal plate inserted into his arm and missed months of action but claimed he’s happy to let bygones be bygones.
He said: “It’s a long time now and it should probably remain in the past and we can get on with it. It was him that caused my broken arm a lot of years ago. A lot of water under the bridge since then, so I’ll be getting on with it.
“I wasn’t happy at the time. I was annoyed. I did think he meant to kick me rather than the ball, which happens in tackles anyway. Sometimes you mean to give the player a little kick, that can happen, and I’m not suggesting he meant to break my arm. He’s not that type of player. He never would have meant to do that.
“I have felt it was a bad challenge which didn’t need to be made. That does happen in games. I’m not going to make a big thing about it. That’s done and in the past.
“He did try to contact me afterwards but I declined the opportunity to speak to him. I was still too angry at that particular time. But that’s long finished now.
“I played against him for Sunderland after it. He was just another player. I would shake his hand. No problem. There won’t be any problem between us.”
Defoe may be 36 now with Gordon claiming time will tell whether the on-loan Bournemouth hitman is still as great a threat as ever.
But he said: “He’s scored a lot of goals and that will make people sit up and take notice. He’s coming to the end of his career now but, in terms of goalscoring, there hasn’t been many better around the British game over recent years. He always seems to hit the target.
“I can’t see that being any different. He’s always been a good finisher and will be someone to watch out for next time.”
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers knows exactly what Steven Davis will bring to Rangers as he returns for a second spell at Ibrox because he once tried to sign him.
With his side only separated on goal difference from arch-rivals Celtic, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has drafted in Davis and Defoe in a bid to prevent Rodgers’ players clocking up an eighth successive Premiership title.
Celtic, too, have strengthened but, while insisting his club remain his sole focus, Rodgers said: “I know the two boys obviously well, Jermaine Defoe and Steven Davis.
“Jermaine when he was a young player at Charlton, to West Ham and saw him at Bournemouth at 17. His career is well documented.
“I wanted to sign Steven when he was at Rangers when we got promoted to the Premier League with Swansea. At that time, Rangers were in a difficult moment and he was their captain and I’d seen him since he was a young player at 13/14 years of age.
“I always recognised his qualities and he’ll be very good for Rangers, I’m sure. These two boys will improve their squad.”
Asked what happened when he made his move for Davis, Rodgers said: “It was a difficult situation for him at Rangers. He was the captain and it probably wasn’t the right time for him to come away.”