Sunday, 9 September 2018

Alfredo Morelos and the open goal

After yet more horror misses on the big stage, we are beginning to wonder when Alfredo Morelos, aged 22, goes past the ‘polish out the rough edges’ and ‘developing’ stages and enters the ‘that’s just the way he is’ point.

His miss on his debut for his country rather summed up the goalscoring contribution he’s made on the biggest stages since signing for Rangers. He has goals against Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen, true, plus a couple in the Europa League v Osijek and Maribor, but unfortunately Morelos is making a bigger reputation for choking on the big stage than anything else. Other than his red cards, that is.

It is evident when we look at ex-Celtic striker Moussa Dembele and his development cycle (they’re the same age) that the now-Lyon front man is generally away ahead of his Colombian counterpart. Goals in the Champions League and goals aplenty against Rangers give some idea of why Lyon paid big for him, and why he is likely to play for France.

That said, Alfredo has something over him already – an international cap. Alas, his international display was something of a farce with an ‘assist’ off his backside and an open goal miss, and once again he is in the press threatening to make amends for that.

Which is what he does every time this happens.

We don’t want this article to sound like a complete smear on the boy – manager Steven Gerrard has called him Rangers’ best player more than once – not necessarily an assessment we’d entirely agree with but one we understand – when on his game he really does offer the team a tonne. Hard work behind the box, linking play up, winning a tonne of fouls and dragging defenders away from team mates – a lot of this good stuff goes unsung and it would be extremely unfair to overlook them.

However, his currency is goals – he has, in his defence, been pretty regular this season as a goalscorer, much to some fans’ ‘chagrin’ protesting ‘he can’t supply ALL the goals’. And that has merit. But equally managing to deliver on the big stages – such as for his country and against Celtic are the ones all Rangers players are measured on. And so far this 22-year old has come up short in that department.

We’re never quite sure how to assess Alfredo Morelos. One red card in one match sees him singlehandedly dominating a defence in another, a dreadful open goal miss in another sees a crucial goal which makes the difference, a stupid piece of attitude and petulance in another match sees a hat trick in others.

It goes on and on. The good parts of Morelos’ game are very good – make no mistake. But unfortunately, as he ages, he’s failing to iron out the gaffes and mistakes which punctuate his career.

We don’t want to remember Alfredo Morelos as the striker who couldn’t score against Celtic.

Hopefully Gerrard will find a way to polish this rough gem before it’s too late and his flaws are part of him.

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