Thursday, 14 June 2018

Is this Steven Gerrard's favoured XI?

It’s time. It’s time to get genuinely excited for Rangers’ prospects next season. Naturally the arrival of Steven Gerrard as boss sure whet the appetite in the first place, but with a flurry of two impressive signings in the space of a day, Glasgow Rangers finally have something akin to a spine, and a shape.

At the beginning of last season, defence, outwith the on-paper brilliant signing of Bruno Alves, was an unknown Portuguese guy (Fabio Cardoso) from a Portuguese mob we’d never heard of (Vitoria de Setubal), a Raith Rovers reject (David Bates), and a divisive and inconsistent ex-Ranger (Danny Wilson).

This was only compounded by the utter calamity that was Russell Martin in January, and by this point we already gleaned that Bruno Alves was a flop (at least under those circumstances) as well.

Now, we’re not hypocrites – we didn’t know of Connor Goldson and we sure as sh*t didn’t know Nikola Katic either, but there is something undeniably reassuring about these being Steven Gerrard signings – that a legend of the game has either scouted these defenders or given the green light to pursuing them.

Gerrard knows more about football than you, me, us, and frankly the vast majority of our support, so we kowtow to his judgement when it’s a player we’ve not heard of or aren’t sure about.

Therefore, with the two defenders we now have, we can truly begin to draw up a feasible XI.

In goal, Allan McGregor.

Presently, a back four of James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and Declan John.

Midfield of Daniel Candeias, Jordan Rossiter, Ross McCrorie and Scott Arfield while up front needs work but for now could be Murphy or Ejaria behind Alfredo Morelos.

That leaves reserves of Murphy/Ejaria, Windass, Jack, Dorrans, Docherty and quite a few more.

The groundwork is clearly taking shape but the curate’s egg is finding out if the likes of Rossiter, Candeias, McCrorie et al really are of Rangers standard – we have done so much arguing the past six years about what that level really means, but as we proposed on Ibrox Noise some months ago, surely a Rangers level Rangers team will have a tonne of currently-active internationals?

In which case, right now, we have still just barely a handful of such players. On paper, it’s not enough, but chances are some of these players will break through to their national sides fully – Murphy, Jack, Katic, Docherty and John are five such players, with McGregor, Arfield (to an extent), Hodson (aye, don’t forget him) and Bruno Alves the established ones we have.

However, we digress.

The squad, right now, looks better shaped – it looks more equipped to handle the rough and tumble of the SPL, with more physical players like Docherty, Rossiter, McCrorie et al around.

We like where this is going under Gerrard, and we look forward to more.

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