A comment on the site recently struck a notable chord with us here at Ibrox Noise. One of our regulars seemed a little aghast at our ‘turning on’ Ross McCrorie when we suggested he was struggling after the first Europa leg and required a rest.
This was not the intention we had, and it opens up the wider issue of the young midfielder’s development and future at Rangers.
As we all know, McCrorie is a massive Auchenhowie success story – after being a regular in the development squad, Pedro Caixinha unexpectedly threw him into the deep end in defence against none other than Celtic, and the young man excelled against zero expectation.
He struggled thereafter in that slot, once his foolish manager had suggested he would be the greatest Scottish defender in history.
But Pedro’s successor Graeme Murty got one substantial thing right in his time at the helm – he shifted McCrorie forward into defensive midfield and the graduate thrived.
We have rated him highly in that position, with good reading, harrying and breaking up of opposition play. But his injury last season sadly curtailed his development significantly and while he is first choice under Steven Gerrard at the moment, he has looked isolated, lost, and weak as the lone defensive midfielder.
Gerrard rightly slammed Caixinha for being so careless with McCrorie’s development by leaving an inexperienced 19 year old in defence, but worryingly is doing something similar himself – leaving him alone in front of it.
McCrorie’s best displays last season were as a duo alongside Jason Holt – while the sitting two wasn’t the best overall use of the squad, it certainly helped McCrorie – he had Holt’s running and graft beside him to help with his own game, and while Holt was far from Rangers standard, his attitude was an excellent example for the younger one.
Now McCrorie finds himself in a bit of a pickle – left to do it alone, his form has not thrived nor does he look comfortable – he may be carrying remnants of that foot injury as well.
But back to the original point – the lad needs a bit of a rest. As Gerrard rightly says he’s young and we just don’t think he’s completely ready to take up the ‘Roy Keane’ role all on his own. This is not us ‘turning on’ McCrorie – quite the opposite – he has magnificent potential.
But it must be nurtured correctly – these are delicate times in his career, and short of form, confidence and maybe even fitness, not to mention isolated on his lonesome, we do fear McCrorie suffering negatively.
Please, management – make sure McCrorie is wrapped in cotton wool and only denied stabilisers when he is truly ready to dominate midfield.
We don’t think he’s quite there yet and mismanagement of his development could ruin him.