We’ve all seen the work being done in the Algarve at present, and if the summer overhaul is anything to go by, next season’s Rangers, and, indeed, the one travelling to either Gibraltar or Kosovo come next month could be a significantly different one to that which finished last campaign so strongly.
Ibrox Noise wanted to speculate and look at a possible brand-new Rangers XI in light of all the new talent coming in this window.
Obviously, this remains Allan McGregor. Best goalie in Scotland and one of the best in the UK. Just… calm the crazy stuff ok mate?
Polster, Edmundson, Katic, Barisic.
Now, this is not us dropping James Tavernier, but pointing out that US international Matt Polster will be expecting more game time this term, and he’s certainly fit now. Furthermore, we suspect Gerrard will want to use his new defender, while hopefully Barisic’s promising pre-season augurs good things to come.
Davis, Kamara, Aribo.
Again, we’re not ‘dropping’ anyone, and Ryan Jack will play plenty – but Steven Davis ended the season in stellar form and has to be one of the first names on the sheet, while Kamara is a sure Gerrard favourite. Aribo is a cert to be a starter if/when he signs on the dotted line.
Jones, Morelos, Arfield.
This is a tricky one. We have tonnes of talent for attack, and we know Greg Stewart, Jake Hastie and Sheyi Ojo will be hoping/expecting to play a lot, but Arfield cannot be dropped in the form he’s in while Morelos, despite Defoe’s fine end to the season, is still likely to be the first choice.
Final possible XI (4:3:3):
McGregor; Polster, Edmundson, Katic, Barisic; Davis, Kamara, Aribo; Jones, Morelos, Arfield.
Foderingham, Tavernier, Goldson, Jack, Ojo, Hastie, Stewart
We can’t even fit in McCrorie, Defoe, Candeias, Docherty, Flanagan or Halliday on this occasion! And regular readers will know we’re massive fans of a number of these guys.
So this is just us postulating. While we want to theoretically include all the new players, that’s just not possible. We can’t realistically drop Davis, Kamara or Arfield because all had superb ends to the season in the split, and Gerrard needs continuity of that. Equally though he has a balancing act on his hands keeping everyone happy, and a lot of players just aren’t going to be. The Morelos issue is a curious one – despite his rollercoaster season, he still remains, on his day, the best overall striker we have and that plies his trade in the SPL – it’s hard to just ditch that unless he’s actually sold.
And the likes of Jake Hastie, Sheyi Ojo, Greg Stewart et al must earn their place, and hope that certain players lose form for that to happen.
Ultimately, Steven Gerrard has unreal strength and depth in some areas now, and picking a definitive and ‘best’ Rangers XI is kind of impossible.
We’ll all have our favourites, our preferred players, and we can certainly say this – Rangers’ bench this season looks set to be one of the best we’ve had in a decade.
We like it.