Monday, 11 June 2018

The Ryan Jack puzzle

When Rangers finally secured Ryan Jack last summer as the highest-priority signing under previous manager Pedro Caixinha, it’s safe to say it was a signature praised by all, us especially.

This was the Aberdeen captain, with three years of leading the second best side in the SPL under his belt while still being a great age with his best seasons ahead of him.

As we know, Motherwell’s Cedric Kipre completely ended his season prematurely, but Jack divided a lot of fans too, with some believing he was the best midfielder at the club, while others felt underwhelmed by his displays.

Jack is a classic defensive midfielder archetype, breaking up opposition play and keeping it simple. As a captain though he is also a capable leader. Or at least was at Pittodrie.

A number of disciplinary problems (rescindings notwithstanding) plus a general lack of impact in matches though point to the reasons why Jack is not universally loved by all.

For a defensive midfielder quite a few attacks have gone straight through him, and while he has good awareness around him when it comes to bread and butter ball retention, he also gives the ball away now and then in dangerous places.

He is physically strong though, and adaptable – some think he may get deployed at right back after a reasonable showing at Pittodrie for Scotland there.

And of course, all players have clean slates for us with Gerrard at the helm – but it doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to look at what the player did last season – and Jack was one who certainly split opinion as the season wore on.

Ryan has a lot of competition at DM now – Ross McCrorie, Greg Docherty, Jordan Rossiter and even Jason Holt all vie for very few slots. Many fans believe Rossiter, injury free, is the first name on Gerrard’s team sheet, and we wouldn’t exactly oppose or dispute this.

Which means Jack is probably against McCrorie and Docherty for the remaining position, should he be primarily deployed in the centre. Which is a nice problem to have, frankly.

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