'Only Kyle Lafferty knows why it didn't work out at Rangers' - Steven Gerrard reveals 'brutal truth' about striker's exit

Steven Gerrard believes only Kyle Lafferty can shed light on why the striker’s second spell at Rangers did not prove a success after he was given every opportunity to excel.
Kyle Lafferty has been freed by RangersKyle Lafferty has been freed by Rangers
Kyle Lafferty has been freed by Rangers

The Ibrox club have announced a parting of the ways with the former Hearts player "by mutual consent" just 12 months into a two-year deal.

Lafferty is the first of “five or six” players Gerrard wants to clear-out ahead of the new league season.

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Albanian winger Eros Grezda is also on the verge of leaving just one year into a four-year deal while Daniel Candeias has already departed for Turkish side Genclerbirligi, although Gerrard stressed this was the player’s decision.

Lafferty scored just six times in 30 appearances last season, including two goals on his second league debut for the club against Motherwell in August. Gerrard confirmed he isn’t in the market for a like-for-like replacement for the 6ft 4in target man because he suspects such a player would be detrimental to how he now wants Rangers to play.

“You’d need ask Kyle the question as to why it hasn’t panned out for him,” the Rangers manager said.

“We had high hopes for him because when he signed, he was in a really good place.He was the type of player that we wanted to add to our armoury.

"He’s a big, physical presence up front. But for whatever reason it hasn’t worked out. We believe he had the opportunities. Kyle is a good player, we have seen him do well throughout his career.

"But you and I know both know showing in glimpses for Rangers isn’t enough.That’s the brutal truth. But as a guy and having worked with him I only have good words to say about him.

“He’s a good character to have around the place, but if I had kept hold of him from a selfish point of view then he would have struggled for game-time,” he added.

“He’s still young enough and he still has the drive and hunger to be a success at whatever he decides to do.I have to respect that he wanted it done quickly so he could get out and get himself playing. We probably won’t look to replace him because I think it would have the reverse effect on what we’re trying to do and how we are trying to play.”

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Rangers now have Jermain Defoe, signed in January on loan from Bournemouth, as back-up for Alfredo Morelos and both players have sufficient quantities of tenacity and skill to make up for what they may lack in height.

Another player set to leave the Ibrox club after failing to make the expected impact is Grezda. He featured 17 times last season and scored only two goals, both of them coming in a 7-1 thrashing of Motherwell.

“I think it has been frustrating for everyone,” said Gerrard. “He came with an injury and found it very hard to shake off and come back in a good place. So I don’t think he got off to the best of starts.

“He had other niggles around that, and I think he has found the whole game here and demands here tough. He has been honest and open about that.”