Tottenham hero reveals the truth about Rangers decision that pushed him towards career crossroads

The former Tottenham striker has opened up on his Rangers exit.
Jermain Defoe was part of a title-winning Rangers squad.Jermain Defoe was part of a title-winning Rangers squad.
Jermain Defoe was part of a title-winning Rangers squad.

Jermain Defoe claims a player-coach role was forced upon him at Rangers - and it pushed him towards the Ibrox exit.

The experienced forward arrived in Glasgow for a crack at the Premiership from Bournemouth in 2019 on loan, with Defoe not leaving until 2022 when he returned to Sunderland. He retired after a short second stint at the Black Cats.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He had made his name at Premier League level through a memorable stint at Tottenham, having started his career at West Ham and also featuring for Portsmouth, Toronto and Bournemouth throughout his successful time as a player.

Defoe was a popular figure after arriving under Steven Gerrard and helped the club win the Premiership title in 2021. But his Rangers exit was not all on his own terms, as the Tottenham hero felt pushed into a player-coach role at the latter end of his playing days.

That left him with a decision to make - one that ultimately resulted in him returning to England. He told Football Firsts: “Before I went to Sunderland, I hadn’t played in about two or three months.

"Stevie (Gerrard) went and Giovanni van Bronckhorst come in. I had a meeting with him and he basically said to me, ‘listen, what’s this player/coach thing?’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“‘I see you in training, you’re sharp, what is the situation? Do you want to play or do you want to coach?’

“I said I want to play. To be totally honest, I didn’t even want the player/coach role. It was forced upon me. So I decided to go to Sunderland.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.