RANGERS utility man Dujon Sterling has revealed that he played despite being partially sighted earlier this season due to a mystery eye condition which baffled specialists as he looked ahead to another important cinch Premiership match against Kilmarnock tomorrow night.

Sterling has established himself as a firm fans’ favourite at Ibrox since Philippe Clement was appointed manager back in October and has won plaudits for both his willingness to play in any position and his outstanding performances.

The former Chelsea kid, who had predominantly played at right back and right wing back before moving to Glasgow on a free transfer last summer, was named Man of the Match in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden in December after being deployed in central midfield.

However, the 24-year-old has admitted that he was still struggling to see properly in that closely-contested encounter with Aberdeen because of a medical issue which had sidelined him for most of the previous month.

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“Back at the start of November, I woke up one day and had a couple of black lines in my eye,” he said. “I think the term they use is floaters. It was still giving me issues for a couple of weeks. 

“It was blurry at the top of my eye so I couldn’t really see anything on my right side. I said to the gaffer that I wanted to play. But say, for example, it was 0-0 in a game and in the last minute a ball comes over. I can’t see it. 

The Herald: “I didn’t want to affect the team by playing when I knew I wasn’t 100 per cent right. The manager said, ‘That’s fine’. He told me to take as much time as I needed to get it sorted and that they’d fully support me. 

“I saw a couple of specialists. They helped, but it just went away by itself. I think it was only after the cup final that it fully disappeared. Even in the cup final I still had a tiny bit of it in the top corner. But now it’s completely gone.” 

Asked if doctors had been able to determine what the cause of the complaint was, Sterling replied: “They just couldn’t say. Literally nothing. Even now I don’t know. I’ll have another check-up in a couple of weeks. 

“It’s just a time thing. There was nothing that I needed to take. They said they could do laser eye surgery, but that might affect me when I was older so I decided just to wait.”

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Sterling took some time to adapt to playing in the middle of the park for Rangers when he got an extended run there after recovering from his eye complaint due to Jose Cifuentes, Ryan Jack and Tom Lawrence all being unavailable. 

However, the London-born footballer has had no difficulties making an impact on the right wing since, much to the surprise of supporters, being thrown on out wide by Clement in the Premiership match against St Johnstone in Perth earlier this month.  

He helped to set up the second goal in the 5-0 triumph over Hearts at Ibrox on Saturday – a result which kept his side two points ahead of Celtic at the top of the table - and is determined to make an impact in the league leaders’ difficult meeting with fourth-placed Kilmarnock on the artificial pitch at Rugby Park tomorrow evening. 

“When I’m playing wide, it’s a lot easier to scan because you only need it look one way,” he said. “They say the line is your friend. I know that the line is there, so I just need to see there the defender is coming from on the other side. 

The Herald: “I’m happy to work on wherever I’m selected. It’s fine by me. I just work every day and see if I can keep improving. I’ve got the coaching staff behind me to tell me what they think I’m doing right and wrong. Then we try to improve that.” 

The versatile footballer is quite content to perform any outfield role in the Rangers team and has taken confidence from the fact that his manager and his team mates as well as supporters have such faith in him. 

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“If you look at a lot of footballers around the world, some of them don’t play in their preferred position all the time either,” he said. “It’s just about being in the starting XI. If I have the shirt, even if it’s not in my favoured poison, it doesn’t really matter to me. 

“It’s a good thing that fans are talking about me, that they respect what I do and that they enjoy watching me play. There are only positives to take from that. 

“Just having the belief from the top is important. It comes right down through the squad. The team has belief in me that I can play any position as well. They always joke about it in the changing room.”

Sterling admitted he was also buoyed by the support which he received from Clement and Rangers after he was ordered off for a foul on Jack McKenzie at the end of the Premiership match against Aberdeen at Ibrox earlier this month.

He believed the red card was excessive and was heartened that his manager defended him publicly afterwards and that his club subsequently lodged an appeal to the SFA – even if the original decision by referee Don Robertson was upheld. 

“It felt really good,” he said. “Even the fans sent me messages saying they didn’t think it was a red and that it was harsh. But it’s done now. It’s in the past. Now I know. Don’t do that, don’t do any questionable thing. You never know what the referees are going to give.” 

Rangers manager Philippe Clement knows that Dujon Sterling is going to give his all regardless of where he plays him.

The Herald: