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Jermain Defoe: Football is not important while people are dying every day

The Rangers striker also paid tribute to NHS staff and care workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Jermain Defoe is happy for football to take a back seat during the coronavirus crisis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Jermain Defoe is happy for football to take a back seat during the coronavirus crisis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Jermain Defoe is happy for football to take a back seat during the coronavirus crisis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers striker Jermain Defoe insists football has to take a back seat as Scotland deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

The game has been suspended since March 13 due to the health crisis, with no firm date set for its return.

And at 37 years of age, Defoe knows time is not on his side in regards to the rest of his career but he stressed that football has become unimportant amid a rising death tally due to the virus.

Rangers v Ross County – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
Football is unimportant during the coronavirus crisis, says Rangers striker Jermain Defoe (Jane Barlow/PA)

“To be honest, there are more important things happening in the world than football,” he told TalkSport.

“People are dying every day which is such a sad thing, it puts things into perspective and you think, you know what, football is not important at all at this moment in time.

“The most important thing is the people who are actually suffering and the families that are losing loved ones.

“Of course we are all missing the beautiful game. I am missing the Rangers fans and, like I said before, my team-mates and hopefully we will be back playing soon.”

Defoe who has played for West Ham, Tottenham and Sunderland among others, also winning 57 England caps, claims Rangers have “done wonders” in keeping the squad ticking over in terms of their fitness regimes during extraordinary circumstances.

He said: “Luckily enough we have a group chat and it is quite funny. We all stick together on that. We have banter and good chat as you can imagine.

Sport Coronavirus
Football has stopped at Ibrox and across the rest of the country (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“The club have done wonders to be honest. The sport science is on another level. Jordan Milsom is unbelievable. He was at Liverpool with the manager.

“We have an app where all the players have individual programmes and everything goes back to the sports science team so they know what exactly what we are doing.

“I have my programme on my phone. I know what days I need to work, recover, what I need to do in terms of strength because I had that injury on my calf, what I need to eat on certain days. It is unbelievable.”

People around the United Kingdom  on Thursday night took part in a “clap for carers” tribute to the NHS and care workers dealing with the pandemic and a grateful Defoe sent his own message.

Coronavirus
Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in a national applause for the NHS (Peter Byrne/PA)

He said: “I would just like to thank them on behalf of my family, my football club. They have been amazing, they have been the heroes.

“I have been blessed, I have managed to be a footballer and have good career and you get people who idolise you but when you compare it to what they are doing, they are the true heroes.

“People need to applaud as they are having to deal with this situation day in and day out. It is tough.

“It is a massive challenge, I think it is one we can get over because of the work they are doing. I would like to thank them on behalf of everyone.”

PA