By Alan Hutton

21st Jul, 2021 | 4:00pm

'Desperate' Sakala backed for pivotal Rangers role after 'massive' Defoe news - Hutton

Alan Hutton has suggested Jermain Defoe’s hamstring injury could have a silver lining for Fashion Sakala at Rangers.

The former Gers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, highlighted the opportunity for Sakala to establish himself in Steven Gerrard’s side.

As confirmed by Gerrard, Defoe picked up a hamstring injury in Rangers’ pre-season draw with Arsenal.

The Daily Record claim (July 17th) the 38-year-old could miss the upcoming Champions League qualifiers with the setback.

Hutton admitted Defoe’s injury is a “massive” blow for the veteran hitman.

However, he insisted it could be an opportunity for Sakala to establish himself, with Alfredo Morelos still absent due to international duty.

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“It’s really disappointing as a football player picking up an injury in pre-season,” Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.

“With age, these things can creep up with a heavy load on the legs. He’s a massive miss with his experience.

“It’s the worst time. You’re back to square one.

“With Alfredo Morelos maybe moving, maybe not, there was an opportunity there for him to stake a claim. I think he has done well up until this point.

“I’m sure Fashion Sakala will be the first in (training) to get out on that pitch. I’ve seen the media interviews.

“He’ll be desperate just to put that behind him now and concentrate on playing. It’s timed quite well for him.”

Zambia international Sakala joined Rangers on a free transfer after his contract at KV Oostende expired.

Defoe’s injury and Morelos’ late return from the Copa America have opened the door for the 24-year-old to make his debut.

He is set to battle with Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten in the club’s upcoming warm-up games.

In other news, big update on Kai Kennedy’s Rangers future after new West Ham bid.