If there’s been a player slightly left in the shadows this season, it’s been last campaign’s Rangers POTY Daniel Candeias.
Following the horrendous Pedro Caixinha reign, the Portuguese winger, along with Colombian Alfredo Morelos, was the only signing last summer, other than the now-departed Declan John, to be any kind of a success.
And in all fairness, he was a very big success – a quiet, understated type of chap, this speedy winger might not quite have hit the heights of Laudrup in his prime, but in winning the club award for best player, certainly showed that he’d been a major standout and a good signing to say the least.
Eight goals and an excellent 13 assists (among the highest in the SPL) in 45 appearances showed the ex-Benfica man’s value, and his humility and low-key profile made him eminently likeable, and a pre-season video from Malaga between he and Morelos gave a very poignant insight into his technical class.
While the Colombian appeared to struggle with the ball during their playful kickabout, Candeias demonstrated a touch, flick, control and general technical ability which is harder to see on match day when he’s running at up to 25MPH, but it shed new light on the kind of quality he possesses. It was distinctly impressive, and for those who haven’t seen it, try to check it out on RTV.
However, it is a new era – Caixinha has gone, Murty is back to the youths, and Candeias signed a new deal to extend his time in Govan – but has not been the firm first-team starter under new manager Steven Gerrard that he was under the previous two – and has just got on with it.
His demeanour hasn’t changed – no strops or apparent poor attitude or workrate now that he doesn’t seem to quite be a guaranteed starter – he has just got on with playing his game as and when required and giving everything when he’s on the pitch.
Benched for three of the five SPL matches so far, and only lasting the full 90 minutes of two matches (both UEL), Candeias has seen his game time more restricted, and much more defensive too. His assists and goals are unfortunately both at zero at the moment, but the season is young.
But the fact he hasn’t been in the press, hasn’t said a word, and has just got on with his game and letting whatever will be, be, we have to hand it to him and appreciate the good that he does.
Yes, his stats this campaign haven’t quite got going yet, and maybe he has lost a little form in terms of effectiveness, but he’s still an excellent option for Steven Gerrard to rely on and the boss knows this guy won’t let him down.
When you have squad depth like Candeias to call on, it’s only a good thing.