STRIKER Jermain Defoe admitted he was “looking forward to” finally becoming a Rangers player after a fruitful 18-month loan spell from Cherries.

The former England international re-joined the Dorset club from Sunderland in the summer of 2017, but started just 16 games and scored four goals before joining Rangers on loan in January 2019.

He has since gone on to score 25 goals in 52 games for the Ibrox outfit.

Defoe made his switch to Rangers permanent by penning a pre-contract agreement with Steven Gerrard’s side in back in January.

Asked what it was like to be a full member of the Gers’ setup, Defoe told the club website: “It’s something I was looking forward to.

“When you go to a club on loan, even though you’re part of it, there is still that something where you are still contracted to another club.

“But to actually be a Rangers player is something I was looking forward to and I am happy that it got done and I am just looking forward to the season.

“I’ve loved (those 18 months). From the minute I walked in the door, the love from all the players, the manager who I knew before, the coaches, the people like the women in the canteen – everyone around the training ground really, the kitman Jimmy [Bell] and obviously the fans – it has been amazing and that is why I actually signed the contract.

“I just couldn’t wait to be a Rangers player and hopefully go on to achieve some special things here.”

He added: “I feel blessed that I have been given the opportunity to come to another massive club.

“With the lockdown, you have had a lot of thinking time and you’ve been able to reflect on everything.

“I have always said, to achieve something special here with this group of players and the staff, for me, would be so special.

“I feel blessed to be here.”