GARETH MCAULEY rates new Rangers loan signing Jermain Defoe as one of the best strikers he has faced throughout his career.

The 39-year-old Northern Ireland legend went up against some of the most lethal forwards in world football during his years in the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion and with 79 caps to his name he did the same on the international stage.

McAuley, however, believes Defoe – who scored 20 goals for England and 162 in the Premier League – was always a tough opponent and he’s delighted to now be on the same side as him at Rangers.

Gareth, speaking to RangersTV in Tenerife, said: “It’s exciting and it’s given the group a real buzz.

“The two boys [Defoe and Steven Davis] have played top level football for their whole careers and Davo has been here before and won things and knows what it is about.

Jermain to be fair is right up there as one of the toughest opponents I faced when I was in the Premier League.

“He just seemed to get goals and his movement is fantastic. I think he will be a big player in the second half of the season for us.

“It’s just his sharpness and his movement, he’s clever and he stands in places you don’t want him to stand. I’m giving away all his secrets here! But he is a top level player, a top level finisher, and speaking to him he’s really excited to be here.

“I know myself the buzz that Rangers gives you with the crowd and playing at Ibrox and playing the away games where you take so many people with you.

“You can’t get that anywhere else and talking to him he’s desperate to get going.”

McAuley, as you would expect, has huge admiration for Steven Davis. He continued: “Davo is a gentleman and he’s a leader around the place with the way he conducts himself and the way he plays is the major thing.

“In terms of international football, when he missed a couple of games for us he was massively missed because he is a driving force, he takes the ball in anywhere and takes the team up the pitch. He can also create goals and score goals.

“He’ll big a big, big player in the latter stage of the season.”

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