A real headache for Steven Gerrard

A real headache for Steven Gerrard

With Rangers securing the fast-tracked £2M signature of Croatian international Borna Barišić, it creates some interesting questions for Steven Gerrard (and the fans) to ponder.

The base issue is that no matter what kind of player he is, Rangers are in no position to dismiss a top class addition to the side. Gerrard may have literally six options at left back, but if a truly exceptional seventh one appeared, and was attainable, we’d expect our manager to make the move.

It’s about getting the best players we can, and Barišić is clearly a class apart.

But it does cause some puzzles – right now Jon Flanagan has been filling in at left back, a position which is not his strongest, but impressing regardless and completely justifying his selection over Declan John. John will now leave to Swansea on loan, and that does thin the herd a little, but Rangers definitely have a dilemma.

Steven Gerrard did not pay seven figures for a benchwarmer – almost every signing he’s paid for or got on Bosman is a sure starter – McGregor, Arfield, Flanagan, Katic (£2M), Goldson (£3M), with only Jamie Murphy an arguable exception (£1M).

His loan deals are less certain to start, although Ovie Ejaria and Lassana Coulibaly have been heavily involved recently, and as such they frequently find themselves on the bench alongside existing squad members.

We see next to zero chance Barišić has been signed to take a seat on the sidelines. Which means a real curiosity.

Barišić will be the club left back/a starter – there is no doubt about that. But the puzzle shifts to the right – Flanagan is a Gerrard signing, and becoming a staple of his XI. He is near-certain to shift to the right and become the default right back. Or is he? James Tavernier is club captain and a complete ‘certain starter’ at RB.

And therein lies the puzzle. What does Gerrard do to accommodate all this? Does he drop Tavernier? Does Flanagan sit on the bench? Are we staggered that Barišić is left to make up the subs?

Or does he change formation? Does he go three at the back? Or otherwise find a way to happily include all three of them by having Barišić on the left, Tavernier on the right as part of midfield and keep Flanagan in a three beside Katic and Goldson?

Quite honestly it’s a great pickle – so many great players, and great options, the kind of issue Rangers deserve to have.

What would you choose?

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  1. I ain't gonna speculate who play where but pretty certain barasic isn't gonna give Gerrard a headache, anything but

  2. Rangers are no longer lightweights. Those days are clearly gone under Gerrard.
    Gerrard is building a fn fortress of a team. I live in Australia now but please can someone buy Stevie a pint!

  3. get a decent striker in and we can and will win the league this year, the mhanky mob are there for the taking

  4. I believe he will start at lb with Flanagan at rb. Tavernier will play at mf as he is not a good defensive player. He is much better going forward and better than any of the wingers we have. Problem solved

  5. You're right, we shouldn't hesitate to sign a player that can upgrade us on at a certain position, even if we already have 2-3 players there. After all, we don't want to have players who are "not too bad" or "average" like Flanagan, we want players who are difference makers. I think Barisic really ticks all boxes, i think he can offer as much danger going forward as Tavernier + a bit more solid at the back (and he is quite tall also).

  6. I said it last season and some are gonna think I’m crazy. But I’d like to see tav in the number 10 in behind the striker if we are going to keep playing one upfront. He’s strong enough, quick enough, can pass and cross like anyone else in the squad and knows where the goal is. Would be a far out decision but one I could see working. Otherwise he’s our new right winger since murphey hasn’t made it his and windas is hopefully going. So maybe tav on the right and Candeias pushed more central

    • I think if we stay in Europe we could rotate between Tav and Candeias on the right wing. It seems that Stevie G is expecting his wingers to put a big shift in on the defensive as well as bursting forward so having fresh legs i there would be helpful.

  7. I think it's quite obvious to most fans who know anything about the game that S G is not buying a player of that calibre to sit on the bench,most people on here today are right,flanagan will move to the right and tav will move somewhere forward,barisic looks a cracking player but with cover we have at left back I would rather he went for a forward,ok it's too late now but remember this he will be cup tied now.

  8. I think most of us agree that Barisic is a superb acquisition given his age the fact he is Croatian and his desire and hunger already shown against us. He will be an upgrade on what we have now and Flannagan will go to RB and Tav will move into the No 10 role that Windass or Murphy cannot fill . The only concern we have now in my opinion is striking options ..if as it seems Steven Gerrard is going to keep Windass then he must play him as a No 9 . The Team is really showing signs of quality and strength already and this will only get better . The cover we have, Striker option apart, is excellent I like Coulibally very much. Ryan Jack is now showing why he wanted to be here and SG and Gary Mc are getting the best from him . I would like us take in some actual transfer money to help the books a little, but very happy with the Boards backing once again. Excited !!!!

  9. I totally agree with you above on tav a rolls royce engine who should be starting games higher up park instead of building through he has a great touch dont know about no.10 but better this year never a rb and i think your wrong on flannagan he is solid outright rb and has done well playing left but you wait till he goes to his natural position with tav in front and either kent or candias in front

  10. I think we should have
    Flanagan at RB, Barisic at LB
    Candei at RM

    Bench Tavernier and Let him fight for the Jersey!
    …Hes had it too easy for Too Long

    (Think we should keep DJ Though)

  11. 3-2-4-1.
    3 CBs Flanigan on right Goldson Katic
    2 attacking wingbacks Tav Bara
    2 cms and 2 wide with a Target man. Solid

  12. There is no quandary. SG has clearly stated that he expects his players to remain fluid with regard to squad position and playing time. Meaning, there are no hard starters. Players are pieces which can be interchanged and intermingled based upon scenario and situation.
    Now, I understand that players are not machines, content to sit until required. However, this is the logic train. The goal is to be flush with talent and everyone (performance meriting) will get a go on the pitch but only when required.
    The thing that people must wrap their heads around is that this is not personal with Gerrard as he is first and foremost, a manager. Managers, manage their resources. Something managers want in abundance. Gerrard is working toward that. I love the ethos of it.

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