Losing Jermain Defoe to injury is a “massive blow” for Rangers ahead of the new Premiership season, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Aberdeen and Leeds forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists the 37-year-old was looking in fine form during the Gers’ pre-season fixtures.

As quoted by BBC Sport, Gerrard confirmed that the veteran forward had suffered a hamstring injury in the Gers’ 4-0 friendly win over Motherwell.

The Light Blues are set to kick off the new Premiership campaign on August 1 with a visit to Aberdeen.

Whelan insists that losing Defoe is a bitter pill for Steven Gerrard to swallow, especially after his impressive performances in the pre-season preparations.

Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, a massive blow because he started off really well in pre-season.

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“He looked really sharp again but I guess that’s what happens though – when you get to a certain age and you’re playing in that position, it’s very demanding.

“It’s very difficult with the way Jermain Defoe plays his game not to pick up those kind of injuries because he’s an impact player. He works on pace, speed, quickness in and around the box.”

Defoe scored 17 goals in 32 appearances for Rangers last season and finished second in the Premiership top-scorers’ list behind Odsonne Edouard with 13 strikes to his name.

He also netted the opener against OGC Nice in a 2-0 friendly win earlier this month.

In other Rangers news, it can be REVEALED the club have agreed terms on their fourth signing of the summer.

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