Former Rangers striker Jermain Defoe has admitted that trying to transition to a coaching role at Ibrox this season lead to him ‘switching off’ as a player, confessing that he found the move “difficult” as he tried to combine both roles.
The veteran striker was handed a player/coach role last summer as Steven Gerrard added him to his first-team staff at Ibrox, but Defoe explained why he struggled to get the balance right.
After Gerrard departed in November, Defoe would find himself left in limbo ahead of the appointment of Gio van Bronckhorst and the veteran opened up on his conversations with van Bronckhorst.
While Defoe’s time at Ibrox would end fairly soon afterwards when he moved to Sunderland, the veteran was full of praise for the Rangers boss.
“I went from a player to player/coach,” Defoe told Rio Ferdinand Presents.
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“With me it is football, train, recover, get ready for the game.
“If I am a player/coach, where do I do my coaching?
“I try to tick all the boxes in terms of preparation and recovery – all that sort of stuff.
“There were certain days when I’d finish training and I felt like should I be taking the forwards doing a bit of finishing.
“I did it a few times then it was ‘or should I be inside, getting a massage?’.
“He [Steven Gerrard] said listen the club obviously want to give you that role to help you with the transition but I understand how difficult it can be.
“Because I was doing both I wasn’t playing much and I think you switch off a little bit mentally.
“I wasn’t playing for ages, then a new manager came in, Giovanni van Bronckhorst came in, we spoke about asking questions so I sat down in his office and I knew he played for Barcelona so I was like talk to me about the philosophy and the training, all that sort of stuff.
“He was unbelievable to be honest, very approachable, because I know you want to do the coaching but I just feel like in terms of playing I had just switched off, it was difficult.”