ON-LOAN frontman Jermain Defoe insisted he had been “always professional” despite his lack of game time at Cherries this season.

The 36-year-old former England international on Sunday secured an 18-month loan to Scottish Premiership giants Rangers.

The former West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham star had played just 22 minutes of top-flight football for Eddie Howe’s men this campaign before switching to Ibrox.

And while he was left kicking his heels on the bench at Cherries, the veteran striker revealed how he had tried to aid younger players at the Dorset club.

“Twenty-two minutes? I thought it was less to be honest," said the forward, when his appearance time was put to him by Sky Sports.

"It happens to the best players in the world – for whatever reason, you don't play.

"I was always professional and it got to the stage where I probably sacrificed my own happiness for the team and the younger players, helping others."

Defoe also revealed he had been a target of Crystal Palace in the build-up to his January switch but decided to link up with former England team-mate Steven Gerrard in Scotland.

"The Palace one was lingering for years,” he added. “I know a lot of people down there, (coach) Mark Bright, a lot of the players. It is obviously a fantastic football club with a top manager (Roy Hodgson).

"But I spoke to Stevie and decided to come here, because it was a great opportunity for me.”