There is little doubt right now that Rangers fans are a tad divided over Mark Warburton’s current performance. Some are optimistic about next season and trust in the boss, while others feel a new manager should be in place by next campaign. But what of the players at his disposal? There has indeed been a heavy emphasis on this site of the manager, so let us switch focus on what personnel Warbs has in his squad who could make the difference for the rest of the season.
IbroxNoise highlights a number of key players and proposes how they could help improve form and make second place a little more convincing.
His double against Partick as a late sub showed everyone just how much quality this young 21-year old striker actually has. His first was a cracking volley and the second a finish of conviction, but the former Leicester City youth product has found chances extremely limited and finds himself on the bench every week. The kid has ability, of this there is no doubt – he is strong, he is quick, he can score goals, and he has surprisingly good positional sense, reading defences better than many of his age. If Warburton was to give this lad a bit more of a chance, he might just be surprised at how much he can deliver.
Despite everyone being convinced he has no future at Ibrox (and his manager’s disinterest in him seeming to back this up) Senderos’ ability is surely in little doubt. He is no Maldini of course, but the Swiss cap has made over 50 appearances for his country, with experience at world cups and European championships, while starring for the likes of Valencia, Arsenal and Milan both domestically and in various European competitions. If anyone has top level wisdom and knowledge, it is the ex-Grasshoppers stopper. His debut for Rangers at Parkhead was not even that bad – two foolish acts betrayed him and it seems possible they left a sour taste in his new manager’s mouth. Either way, if Warburton wants a reliable defence that does not leak goals to the likes of Motherwell, Hamilton and Ross County, he could do worse than entrusting the 32 year old with the back line.
Very much a part of first team affairs, Miller might not produce every single match but he is an integral part of all that is good about this Rangers team. The 37 year old stalwart is the ultimate football professional, and has impressed massively in midfield along with his more familiar striker role. His knowledge and impeccable conduct are outstanding tools along with his obvious class, and Ally really did make a wise signing bringing the former Bear back home back in 2014. He will continue to be part of everything good Rangers do.
Recently subject to transfer speculation and with good reason, McKay is Rangers’ big asset these days. Home-grown and maturing all the time, the winger’s final delivery is his only weakness, with his vision, skill, pace, and link play all colossal assets to his team. Warburton handled his form loss earlier this season brilliantly, and it reinvigorated the forward to restore the hunger and desire. He has not looked back since and has made such a difference to Rangers’ results. Is easily worth at minimum the £6M claimed by other outlets as a (non-materialising) bid from Leipzig.
Concentration and fitness may be a concern with Rangers’ new recruit, but there is no denying his technical prowess. Some of his touches, vision, ball retention and use of it thereafter have been undeniably impressive, and while he is suffering from fading far too early in matches, it is clear when he is in the mood, he will deliver some real quality from the middle. His general lack of ability to remain in games for the duration is probably why his career has stuttered, because there is little doubting what he can bring.
Provided the match-winning assist for King Kenny last weekend, and has shown some real play-building. Even against Leipzig during his brief cameo he managed a truly exquisite assist from deep, finding his man with ease, and that is a great tool for Rangers to have – a deep lying playmaker who can spot men, runs, and space and use them fully. He has already delivered more on his competitive Rangers’ debut alone than Jason Holt probably has all season.
His struggles in breaking into Rangers’ first team are well documented, but he has only ever impressed when appearing. Not the tallest (Louis Moult beat him with too much ease last weekend) but as a right back he is simply a better player than James Tavernier – more solid at the back, more capable of reading the flank and can attack with purpose. A reinvigorated Rangers would see the Northern Irishman playing a much more active role.
Honourable mentions to the likes of Michael O’Halloran who still wants to prove himself at Ibrox, Martyn Waghorn who has lost his place but will still feel his physical strength up front can contribute something, and Harry Forrester who is just sitting on the fringes of the first team now but will be determined to show why he should be starting XI again.