Sunday, 5 November 2017

Rangers' Ryan Jack Will Get the Chance to Impress on the International Stage

It's only a matter of weeks since Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup 2018 but caretaker boss Malky Mackay is already looking to the future. The former Cardiff coach has announced his squad for the upcoming friendly against the Netherlands, and it features a couple of surprise inclusions, including Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack.

Source: Rangers Culture via Twitter

The 25-year-old will get his chance to impress and admits that he is determined to make the most of the opportunity. Jack has suffered from indiscipline since his summer move from Aberdeen and was dismissed late on against Kilmarnock for clashing with Kirk Broadfoot on October 25. That was his third red card of the season as Rangers imploded under former boss Pedro Caixinha.

The holding midfielder is a naturally combative player and whilst he is unlikely to add many goals to the side, his positioning and aggression are two of the qualities he offers. Jack's ball retention is admirable and his ability to read the game once persuaded former Scotland and Preston manager Craig Brown to declare that the Rangers man had no weaknesses to his game and could end up plying his trade in Serie A.

Jack admitted the call was unexpected, but enthused: "It's always an honour and pleasure to be called up to play for your country," before later adding: "I'm excited and can't wait to get going." He has previously enjoyed a taste of being amongst the Scotland squad when he was called up for a qualifier with Croatia in 2013 but he still remains uncapped. Unfortunately, the midfielder plays a similar role to Celtic captain Scott Brown and is unlikely to displace the 32-year-old in the near future but many Scotland fans see him as a natural successor to the Dunfermline-born enforcer.

Source: BBC Sport via Twitter

He has been called up alongside Jason Cummings, Cardiff's Callum Paterson and Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie but the 25-year-old is the sole Rangers representative in the squad. The club have struggled for consistency since returning to the top flight and despite a promising start, Pedro Caixinha soon appeared to lose control of the dressing room. Fans registered their dismay after watching their side win just one of the last six Scottish Premiership games at Ibrox as the club began to lose ground on the top two. They have been priced at 11/8 in the football betting in the 'without Celtic' market although Aberdeen are also heavily fancied to mount a challenge for the European spots. Their city rivals are already a point clear at the summit and Rangers will be hoping to push on and potentially close the gap on the Bhoys once a new manager is installed.

Whilst his disciplinary record might occasionally let him down, it's been a promising couple of years for Ryan Jack and he thoroughly deserves his chance in Malky Mackay's squad. He has looked adept and comfortable on the ball during his brief European outings and his game appears ideally suited to the more possession-based international game. Rangers fans will be hoping he is the first of many players to represent club and country.

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