Noel Whelan admits he is concerned Jermain Defoe will struggle to stay fit after his latest injury setback at Rangers.

The former Leeds and Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has drawn on his own first-hand experiences as a veteran striker in assessing the 37-year-old’s future at Ibrox.

As confirmed by manager Steven Gerrard, Defoe picked up a hamstring injury against Motherwell on Wednesday and the issue is set to be monitored over the coming days.

Whelan, who suffered a number of muscular injuries in the twilight of his career, admits this could be the beginning of the end of Defoe after several fitness issues for the Spurs man.

Whelan told Football Insider: “It’s very quick, it’s very dynamic, you’re making quick sprints, you stretching for chances, you’re overexerting yourself, that is what you need to be as a striker.

“Now Jermain Defoe has had a number of years doing that, he’s not at the same age as he used to be flying around the field. That’s the chance you take with players that are at that age and that stage of their careers is that they will pick up injuries.

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“Maybe it’s his body telling him that it’s had enough, quite frankly. We all want to play on for as long as we possibly can, I did but I knew when I was picking up hamstrings, I knew when I was picking up calf injuries that my body wasn’t in the same shape as it used to be when I was 21, 22 onward.

“Sometimes your head has to rule instead of your heart and sometimes your health is more important.”

Defoe missed six of the last seven Premiership games last season due to a calf injury, with the issue also keeping him out of the Gers’ Europa League knockout games.

He has a total of 25 goals in 52 appearances for the Glasgow giants.

In other Rangers news, manager in “advanced talks” with English club after Ibrox twist.

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