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Gerrard sees a big future for Morelos as he puts goals before cards

Steven Gerrard may struggle at times to get a handle on Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, but he is confident the Colombia international can keep breaking records.

The in-form forward scored a double in the Light Blues’ 2-2 draw with Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Thursday night, which, combined with Porto’s win over Young Boys, moved Gers top of Group G and they can seal last-32 qualification with a draw against the Swiss side at Ibrox next month.

The Colombian became the first Rangers player to score in four consecutive European games and his European tally of 13 is one more than the previous best recorded by Henrik Larsson during Celtic’s run to the UEFA Cup final in 2003.

Asked if Morelos, who has now scored 24 from 28 appearances this season and whose disciplinary record has improved significantly, thrived on breaking records, the Gers boss said: “I am not sure. I have never had a chat with him in terms of, ‘do you set yourself a goal target?’

“I am not even sure whether he would have been aware of those European records.

“Alfredo is very much a person who is, I don’t know, how do you describe him? He is a difficult one to work out but what you can say and you can’t take away from him is that he loves playing football.

“You can’t get him off the training ground and he hates getting rested, hates coming off the pitch and that gives me confidence that he will continue to be a top player for many years.

“If you love the game the way he does it wouldn’t surprise me if he goes on to become a regular for Colombia, continues to get international goals and scores many goals here or wherever else he goes.

“Alfredo needs to keep doing what he is doing.

“He has realised over the summer and maybe even the back end of last year, that the only people he is hurting is his own people with his disciplinary record.

“He is the one who is behaving and performing at the moment and long may it continue because he can go on and break many more records if he continues to do that.”

The Gers boss, confident that veteran striker Jermaine Defoe will be available for the visit of Hearts on Sunday after missing the trip to Rotterdam with a knock, refuses to look past the danger of the Gorgie side at the start of a busy December.

Rangers face eight games in total next month, including the Betfred Cup final against Celtic at Hampden Park as well as a trip to Parkhead in the Ladbrokes Premiership, plus well as away games at Aberdeen and Hibernian.

However, Gerrard, sitting beside captain James Tavernier at a media conference at the club’s training ground, said: “I am aware there is a cup final next week and there is a make-or-break game against Young Boys
and we have to go to Celtic Park, all fantastic fixtures and I get it. But for me, the focus is on Hearts.

“It would be very disrespectful to Hearts and Austin (McPhee, caretaker) for me to be talking to James about Aberdeen for example and Celtic.

“Hearts took two points away from us not so long ago so I think it would be very silly if we forget about the challenge that is in front of us.”