Ex-Sunderland stopper set for Jermain Defoe reunion after heated past meetings

Former Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is willing to bury the hatchet with striker Jermain Defoe - as the pair prepare to face-off north of the border.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 12:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 3:18 am
Craig Gordon is set to move on from his feud with Jermain Defoe

Gordon, who has become a regular at Celtic since leaving the Stadium of Light, had previously taken issue with a challenge made by Defoe during the stopper's time on Wearside.

He felt that Defoe, then playing for Tottenham Hotspur, had played a significant role as he suffered a broken arm.

And while he refuted suggestions that the ex-England international tried to break his arm, he felt there was some malice in the challenge.

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But he is now prepared to move on from the incident, having previously blanked calls from Defoe.

The pair could meet each other in an Old Firm Derby later this campaign after the striker penned an 18-month loan deal with the Gers - and Gordon will have no issue with the frontman if the pair do face-off.

"It’s a long time now and it should probably remain in the past and we can get on with it," he said.

"It was him that caused my broken arm, a lot of years ago.

"There’s a lot of water under the bridge since then, so I’ll be getting on with it.

"I wasn’t happy at the time. I was annoyed.

"I did think he meant to kick me rather than the ball, which happens in tackles anyway.

"Sometimes you mean to give the player a little kick. And I’m not suggesting he meant to break my arm. He’s not that type of player.

"I have felt it was a bad challenge which didn’t need to be made. But I’m not going to make a big thing about it. That’s in the past.

"I feel strong, I’ve come back. It’s not something that will be in my mind.

"He did try to contact me afterwards, but I declined the opportunity to speak to him. I was still too angry, but that’s long finished now. I played against him for Sunderland after it. He was just another player.

"It’s not something you can go into a game thinking about. Lots of players get injured because of a tackle, you play against them and that’s just the way it is.

"I’d shake his hand. No problem. I’m just going to get on with the game. There won’t be any problem."

Defoe's signature is set to boost Rangers' title hopes, with Steven Gerrard's side looking to end Celtic's long-run of top-flight successes.

And Gordon believes the addition of the former Black Cat is a strong one.

"He’s scored a lot of goals and that will make people sit up and take notice," he added.

"He’s coming to the end of his career now, but, in terms of goalscoring, there hasn’t been many better around the British game over recent years.

"He always seems to hit the target. I can’t see that being any different. He’ll be someone to watch out for."

Gordon could come up against Defoe on March 30, when the Gers travel to Parkhead.