Jermain Defoe opens up on Rangers struggles which led to Ibrox exit

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Jermain Defoe opens up on Rangers struggles which led to Ibrox exit

JERMAIN DEFOE has revealed his lack of minutes for Rangers was affecting him and eventually led to his Ibrox exit.

The striker, 39, left Rangers on Wednesday and has since spoken about struggling with adapting to a player-coach role at Ibrox and his limited appearances.

Defoe, who thanked the club for an “unbelievable time” in Glasgow, revealed he was left feeling down as he playing time was cut with Alfredo Morelos and Fashion Sakala finding form this season.

And it was his struggles with not being involved in matchday squad which led to an “honest” conversation with the club before his exit.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Defoe revealed: “There were many people speculating and a lot of people who didn't understand what was going on at the time.

“I was given a player-coach role but me being me I just wanted to focus on playing because the player-coach role was something completely different.

“At the beginning it was difficult to find the balance in terms of when do I do a bit of coaching and when do I train 100 per cent.

“I had a few conversations with the manager, Stevie at the time and we spoke about how difficult it was at the time because I was trying to find time to do coaching while playing and training – I did a full pre-season.

“To be honest it was really difficult for me because I was so focussed on playing – I did everything I did the season before and wasn't rally getting the opportunity throughout the season and I think it was pretty clear towards the end that I wasn't going to play.”

Despite having trouble combining playing responsibilities with coaching, Defoe insisted he was determined to battle his way back into the team especially after a change in manager.

But he was finally left discussing an exit from Ibrox after his playing time continue to be limited under Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

He continued: “I wasn't really getting in the squads and at the same time (I was) still trying to hold onto it; still you know 'new manager is coming in, Gio, can I impress the new manager?'.

“I've still got that mentality to try get myself into the squad and hopefully get a few games under my belt because I just felt like the season before in terms of stats every game I started I scored.

“When you're there, when you're involved in it, and the season we had before winning the league and that sort of feeling, you can imagine the next season you still want to be a part of it because you've still got that buzz.

“The fans are back in the stadium and as you know Ibrox is an unbelievable place to play football. It was really difficult for me, even at the age of 39 I was still wanting to be involved.

“Towards the end it was affecting me, I was bringing it home, I was a little bit down and stuff like that.

“And I just had an honest conversation with the club to be honest, honest conversation and it was going to be difficult where I was going to get my games with the new signings coming in doing well and the club doing well. And that was it really.”

Despite the struggles, it hasn't detracted from Defoe's time and experience as a Rangers player.

He explained: “Thank you for the support. Maybe five minutes into my first game they were singing an unbelievable song and that struck me straight away like: 'Wow, this is an unbelievable place to play football'.

“From day one the fans took to me and I bought into the culture. I'm going to miss it. And 55 league titles was something the club was craving and so special and something that will go down in history and you're part of it – it's not easy to walk away from it.

“But I had an unbelievable time there and I want to thank everyone at the football club.”

18/01

Aberdeen (A)

Premiership

1 - 1

21/01

Stirling Albion (H)

FA Cup

4 - 0

26/01

Livingston (H)

Premiership

19:45

29/01

Ross County (A)

Premiership

12:30

02/02

Celtic (A)

Premiership

19:45

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