STEVEN Gerrard disappointed Rangers supporters last night by insisting he has no intention of “embarrassing himself” by coming out of retirement to play for the club in Sunday’s friendly match against HJK Helsinki.

While the 38-year-old, a full year younger than Ibrox defender Gareth McAuley, has been retired for three years now, dampened speculation that he could stage a one-off return to the playing ranks to swell the gate for what is a meaningless friendly arranged between the two clubs as part of the transfer which took Alfredo Morelos to the club in the summer of 2017.

“Where has that come from?” said Gerrard. “Let me tell you right now, I would love to play. I would love nothing better - but unfortunately that won’t be happening.

“I am sure I would be allowed, I don’t think there are any rules preventing it,” the Rangers manager added. “This is just honouring a gentleman’s agreement between Alfredo and people at the club at Helsinki and Rangers, which we all have to respect. I would love to play. I would just take the No 8 jersey off Jacko [Ryan Jack] and play the full 90 minutes!

“No, it just isn’t happening. Because then I have to upset someone else who has to play and I don’t want to do that.

“Why won’t I play? One, because I can’t last 90 minutes any more.

“Two, because there are better options than me.

“And three, because I have been retired for I don’t know how long, three years? The hips just don’t move the way they used to move. It is different pinging a pass 40 yards in a 10-minute possession drill and playing 90 minutes in front of a crowd. I am not embarrassing myself.”

Gerrard retired in November 2016 after a 19-year career which saw him play 710 times for the Anfield side, winning nine trophies, before joining MLS side LA Galaxy.

England’s fourth most capped player with 114 appearances, he played in six major finals, three times as captain.