JERMAIN DEFOE has revealed how a heart-to-heart with manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst paved the way for his Rangers exit.

The 39-year-old this week brought a premature end to his Ibrox career after walking away from the final months of contract with the champions.

Defoe has been limited to just two appearances for Rangers this term and had seen his coaching ambitions diminished further following the arrival of Van Bronckhorst and assistants Dave Vos and Roy Makaay.

The striker is now searching for a return to the game and admits a desire to keep playing ultimately led to his departure from Ibrox.

Defoe said: "It was basically an honest conversation with the manager. ‘Do you want to play or do you want to coach?’

"Remember, everyone’s got different ideas. I think he looked at it, coming from a different culture. He probably just thought, ‘what do you want to do?’ ‘Do you want to play or do you want to coach?’

"Simple as that. I said, gaffer, I want to play because that was always my plan from the beginning.

"To play, but at the same time have a little bit of help with my coaching badges and stuff like that. That was it.

"I said to him, I finished the season strong when we won the league. I feel sharp. He said, yeah, I saw that.

"For me, I just want to play football and I did a full pre-season so I was just ready to play to be honest.

"I said I want to play in front of the fans and hopefully have another successful year and at the end of the season we will see what happens in terms of me stopping playing, moving on or becoming a full-time coach.

"I’m all or nothing. I could never be 50 per cent doing this. I’ve always been 100 per cent. So for me, it was going to be difficult trying to do both."

Defoe became an integral part of the Rangers squad after making the move to Ibrox in January 2019 and he was a leading figure on and off the park.

His influence has waned in recent months and the former England striker is determined to find another club to continue pulling on his boots this term.

"I’ve had loads of phone calls as you can imagine," Defoe told talkSPORT. "I’ve got a few options.

"Like I said, from the beginning of the season, my plan was to continue playing till the end of the season and then see what happens. I’ve always been honest with myself.

"I’ve had a full pre-season. Even during the season, in training, I still feel sharp. I finished last season really strong.

"I speak to my team-mates and the lads always say to me, you can play for another three years. There’s no chance I’m going to play for another three years.

"Your team-mates can see. No disrespect to anyone else in the league up there, but I always felt like I’m playing with the best players in this league. That’s how I felt.

"Every day in training, I felt like I was playing with the best players in that league. So if I’m still feeling sharp and doing my stuff against these players, there is no need for me to just stop. Stop just because you’re 39? No, you stop when your body tells you to stop."

Rangers would express their gratitude to Defoe as his exit from Ibrox was confirmed on Wednesday and sporting director Ross Wilson spoke glowingly about his input.

Defoe is now preparing for the next stage of his career but he will always have an affinity with the champions after landing title 55 last term.

Defoe said: "It feels weird. But I would like to think that I am still associated with the club in some way.

"When I walked into the football club, I was really blown away. I always knew that Rangers were a massive club, from the outside looking in.

"Even from when I was a young kid, I remember Ally McCoist’s goals, Gazza and all that sort of stuff. But it’s not until you get there that you realise the magnitude of the football club and the history.

"What I used to do, I would always ask little questions. I would go in the kitroom and I would sit down with Jimmy Bell and I would ask him to tell me some stories about the club and Souness and Gazza and all that.

"Then I would speak to the ladies in the canteen who had been there for 30 years. ‘Tell me your favourite games’ and stuff like that. ‘What was he like as a player?’ So I really bought into the culture.

"I really enjoyed it. So it’s emotional waking up and seeing all that stuff. The messages are unbelievable from the fans.

"My phone has just gone mad. I wish I could message every person back on Instagram but I can’t. It was a special time of course."