STEVEN GERRARD admits he needs to trim numbers from his Rangers squad as a handful of players near the Ibrox exit door.

The Light Blues boss has added six signings to his ranks so far this summer and midfielder Joe Aribo is poised to join up with his new team-mates in Portugal this week.

There was no place in the travelling party for Kyle Lafferty, Graham Dorrans or Eros Grezda, while Jordan Rossiter and Jason Holt were also left behind following loan spells last term.

Gerrard said: “As a manager you have to try and be as respectful and honest as possible to every player.

“The squad is big right now. We have 28 players with us right now.

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“The board haven’t said and they haven’t put me under any pressure but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out the squad is too big.

“I have to be honest and tell people they wont get the game time that will satisfy them.

“It is not as brutal as saying get out as quick as you can – we don’t respect you and don’t love you anymore. But, as a manager you have to make tough decisions and you have to go with what you think is the best prepared squad to challenge next season.

“Yes, I have had to have difficult conversations with certain players but I hope they understand I am trying to be as respectful as I can to give them as much time to find a different route.”

The likes of Lafferty, Dorrans, Holt and Rossiter are now in the final 12 months of their Ibrox deals. But winger Grezda still has three years to run on the contract he penned last summer.

It could prove difficult for Rangers to move players on given their terms and Gerrard said: “That is their decision. I can’t make decisions for them.

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“My job is to manage the team, manage game time, make team selections and pick squads best capable of being successful.

“In terms of contracts and what is out there for them. That is where their agents and Mark will come into it more than myself.

“It is very easy for a manager to be selfish and keep them in the door for as long as you want and tell them later on in the window. I don’t think that is fair. I want to give people I respect the best chance to get the best solution for them. That is why I have told certain people as early as I can.

“That is why certain conversations happened at the back end of last season. The players can’t point a finger at me and say I haven’t given them enough time.”