How the competition has hotted up for Jason Holt

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As competition for places hots up at Ibrox, a very curious pattern has appeared in the past couple of matches; arguably last season’s best player, or certainly one of, has not featured in any meaningful way and indeed was mildly criticised post-Motherwell for his display.

That player, of course, is Jason Holt. Rightly lauded last season, Holt was Rangers’ most effective midfielder, with an absolute guaranteed start and a noticeable loss in team form when he suffered injury during the business end of the campaign.

His industry, drive, goals and energy were a sparkling component of Rangers’ success throughout the season, and he was firmly expected to be a guaranteed start this season, including by yours truly.

However, doubts might now be emerging after he was not only overlooked again for a starting slot last night in favour of the increasingly brilliant Josh Windass, but was in fact omitted entirely from the match day squad having been benched v Annan.

Yes indeed, manager Mark Warburton has installed a disclaimer regarding ‘loading’ and effectively wanting to give the whole squad game time, but some players have certainly experience a heck of a lot more loading than others (Wallace, Halliday, McKay have all started every match pre-season) while Holt has barely featured that Motherwell appearance aside.

And, as mentioned, he was rather subdued in said appearance before being hooked off in favour of new signing Windass.

Jason Holt has a fight on his hands. Rangers’ most impressive midfielder last season now sees the likes of Kranjcar, Windass, Forrester et al vying for the creative midfield slot, while last season his only real competition was Law, Shiels and Zelalem – this season it is serious.

And, unfortunately for Holt, Windass has been, frankly, electric, and has thoroughly impressed since his debut – he has two goals already – both clinical finishes, one in that friendly at Battery, and a first competitive strike showing remarkable calm and composure to slot away at Stirling.

Even then, it is evident that Windass himself might not even be first choice, with the aforementioned depth around him to boast of.

It is a problem Rangers want to have – Jason Holt, a fantastic contributor last season, may now have to find another level to maintain a place in the team – he is not starting by default this time round, and sees quality like Kranjcar and Windass arguably ahead of him.

It is up to him to prove his worth, and prove that he can step up and produce at the level Rangers are now expecting. Rangers’ standards, already increasing dramatically last season, are now punching up to another zenith altogether.

It is up to Jason Holt to go with that flow, and show he is every inch as good as his squad rivals.

It is the kind of problem a club like Rangers needs, and Mark Warburton will thrive on.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Feel bad for wee Holt because as you say he was tremendous at times last season,but in reality we lacked any kind of physicality in midfield and were out-muscled by Falkirk most noteably.You look now at the midfield and despite their obvious talent Nico,Barton and Windass are all big boys and with Crooks to come in at 6"4 its going to be tough for Holt. He's a great player but he may not fancy being on the bench given his contribution last season and might look for a move.Its a good problem to have though.

  2. Rangers recruitment has been excellent. All the players you mention all offer something different. It could be argued that Nico should be worried. Lets face it his fitness levels are a long way off the rest.Warbs knows what he gets in a competitive match with jason holt. These matches are a chance for him to see what he gets from nico and josh and of course Harry broke a leg so didnt play at the close of last season. Its about game time, gelling, what partnerships work well blah blah. Ive no doubt Jason holt will shine again this season.

  3. Undoubtedly a great talent and probably deserves an opportunity to hold his place in the side from last year.

  4. Our midfield is 'overloaded' with quality players Barton, Kranjcar, Forrester, Windass, Halliday, Holt, Crooks, Rossiter not to mention the kids Thompson and Burt.

    Holt is a terrific box to box midfielder and has a tireless attitude.

    Leicester won the league last year using the least amount of players literally playing the same eleven each week… I reckon Warbs will feel obligated to play certain players even though we may have a solid and settled team. It's not like we have Europe to compete in as well this year.

    Rossiter moved to Gers for first team football… I'm sure Barton and Kranjcar have done the same

  5. and unfortunately with the arrival of Barton, Kranjcer, Windass, Crooks and Rossiter it will be difficult for Holt and, I suspect, Halliday, to retain their place in the starting line up. One thing is for sure when the get their chance they need to play at their best since this season their will be no place for those that are not contributing!

  6. Holt is class (which is not measured in feet and inches) and class will out. He was running on empty at the end of last season, so more recruits arriving means he will stay fitter, longer this year. If we are going to seriously challenge Celtic, we'll need everyone going right to the end of the season. We've still only got about half the number of bodies of the Celtic squad.
    Scott Allan anyone?

  7. For the past 4 years all I have read from idiots is "Scottish football doesnt need Rangers" and "we will be better off without Rangers". Fast forward 4 years of absolute dross that is the scottish game and season ticket books go through the roof. Brendan Rodgers, Kolo Toure, Joey Barton and Niko Krancjar have arrived and Zlatan Ibrabimovic (still chuckle at that 1) and Van Persie linked. Taking all that into consideration, I would love to hear a Sellick fan argue their point now. They should be very careful what they wish for. They wanted Rangers dead and some claim we are. If Rangers had died, then the heart of Scottish football would be taking its final beat.

    Scottish football doesn't Rangers?

    Rangers ARE Scottish football!

  8. With the cups & league games Holt will get his chance, I cant see Krancjar playing week in week out same with Barto so he will just have to bide his time. Good to see the boy thompson comin on last night, Felt a wee bit sorry for Forrester he just seemed to be tryin to hard all in all promising

  9. Its a great problem to have but i have no doubts holt will get plenty of games as injuries and suspensions kick in its all about the squad and keeping them happy

  10. Its a squad game , players will get runs in the side and have spells out, wee Holty will be no different .He went from being a sub at the start of last season to being a key man and he could well do the same this season.I agree that he ran out of steam a bit last season , but feel it was when he was pulled a bit deeper in midfield rather than just off Waghorn , after we signed Harry.He`ll be a vital player again this season , they all will.

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