Monday, 3 September 2018

A massive and timely boost for Rangers...

If ever an international break came at a perfect time for Rangers, it is now.

Steven Gerrard’s men have gone through a glut of fixtures to set this season off, and quite frankly have looked off the pace and jaded the past few matches.

It is even rare for a club manager himself to welcome a fortnight of international football, but Steven Gerrard has admitted this one has come at the right time, for a number of reasons, and it is hard to disagree with that.

First off, the patent fact that his men have not been in form since the Kilmarnock win. A slow start defensively in that one was overturned nicely and the visitors ran out comfortable winners, but a slightly underwhelming display v UFA followed, as did that draw at Fir Park, before the 9-man backs to the wall in Russia.

It all came to a head yesterday as Celtic deservedly ran out comfortable winners (again) at Parkhead.

Secondly, quite frankly the players need a rest. Two fixtures a week since the season started has drained these players. Yes, they’re professionals, and yes, they’re supposed to be fit as fiddles in light of that hyped-up pre-season training camp in Malaga, but they’re also human. They’re jaded. They’ve played too much and lost some of their edge. They might be able to run for days but eventually it catches up on you and the sharpness and hunger fades. This fortnight will restore much of that.

Thirdly, Rangers have DRAMATICALLY missed Lassana Coulibaly. There is absolutely no coincidence that the team’s worst form has coincided with his injury. Steven Gerrard has two weeks to get the international up to fitness and up to speed and has explicitly said this fortnight will do that for the Mali star. Rangers’ midfield lacks so much when he’s not there.

No, this international break is probably the most needed one we can remember. A few of our players will still be off on duty on it such as Kyle Lafferty, Borna Barisic, Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack (he got called up after all, did anyone notice) to name just four, but the majority will get a two week rest from serious competitive football to recharge the batteries.

And it’s never been more welcome.
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