By Darren Bent

4th Jan, 2021 | 12:00pm

'It's Damaging' - Exclusive: Bent on what he's seen amid Rangers 'Dressing Room' verdict

Alfredo Morelos is a loose cannon but Rangers need his firepower – and Steven Gerrard’s management of the Colombian hotshot has been “superb.

That is according to ex-Spurs, Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent, who gave his opinion in exclusive conversation with Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams after Rangers’ 1-0 win against Celtic on Saturday.

As has become customary, Morelos was involved in a couple of flashpoints – in the opening few minutes, he was very lucky to escape a yellow for scraping down the back of Jeremie Frimpong’s ankle; 15 minutes from time, he got involved in a scuffle after a Shane Duffy foul and was duly booked.

At that point, manager Steven Gerrard elected to withdraw him from the action, clearly fearful of the fact that it was only a matter of time until the striker earned himself a second yellow.

This has led some commentators to suggest that Morelos is a negative influence on the squad, but Darren Bent believes the situation is not that simple.

He told Football Insider: “It is damaging. But at the same time, you need these sorts of players. 

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“You need these characters in the dressing room. You don’t want 11 choir boys. The manager needs to understand that it’s good to have him in the team but for the sake of the team, there are times when you’re gonna have to take him out.

“So if anything, you have to say well played to Gerrard. Because you’ve got a player in your squad who’s tenacious, who runs that risk all the time, and the manager understands that.

“It comes down to the manager knowing when to take him out the firing line. I think Gerrard has shown that on this occasion, and that’s superb.

It may have been a great day for Rangers as they extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to a colossal 19 points, but for Morelos it was tinged with frustration.

It was his 14th Old Firm without finding the scoresheet, a run which stretches back to his arrival in Scotland in 2017.

In other news, the Rangers hierarchy fear a mass Ibrox exodus, with three of their defensive stars targeted by Premier League clubs.