New Rangers signing Dujon Sterling says he is ready to focus on his defensive priorities as he looks to make his move to Glasgow a successful one.
The 23-year-old former Chelsea youth prospect arrives at Ibrox after a series of loan-moves to clubs including Coventry, Blackpool and most recently at Stoke City.
He made 28 appearances for the English Championship club last season and is now looking to compete with the likes of Rangers captain James Tavernier and Borna Barisic for a place in the team.
And he says despite the current trend of full-backs being judged on goals, assists and helping out up the other end of the pitch, he will first and foremost make the defensive side of the game his priority in the season ahead.
He said: “I like to prioritise my defending, I think that’s really important, a lot of right-backs and left-backs these days get judged on their stats and what they do up the other end of the pitch, but defensively they are not great.
“So I like to do my defending and win the one-on-one battles then when the chance to arrives for me to get forward and express myself then I do that to help the team, but knowing that my team-mates and manager are trusting me to be able to defend.
“I play right-back of left-back, I am happy to play centre-back but I wouldn’t say that is my strength.”
Sterling has been capped for England youths at every level from Under-16s to Under-20s and was part of the side that won the UEFA Under-19 championships in 2017 when he was also named in the team of the tournament.
He is now looking forward to playing alongside Tavernier and Connor Goldson who he has admired from afar in previous season.
He said: “I’ve watched Tav and Connor play and watched Rangers play on TV and they’ve been the main guys in the team, and that’s why they’ve been around for so long. Being with them in training every day, especially Tav because he plays the same position, it’s been great to learn from them.
“Tav was the first one that messaged me when I signed, he welcomed me in and said If I need anything just to let him know. On the training pitch we have been on different teams this week and it’s been good to see the difference between us.”
Sterling is one of six new signings for Rangers already this summer as manager Michael Beale oversees a rebuild of the squad.
The defender joins fellow new recruits Cyriel Dessers, Kieran Dowell, Jack Butland, Sam Lammers and Abdallah Sima to Ibrox.
More new signings are likely before the season starts with former defender Leon Balogun the latest to be linked with a return.