With the flurry of news today from Ibrox, fans might be forgiven for failing to notice last night’s polished performance from Scott Arfield in his latest Gold Cup match v Cuba.
Fully installed as the Canuck captain, Arfield was controversially dropped for the last match, that Canada of course lost to Mexico 3-1, and the coach John Herdman defended the decision to do so.
Clearly realising it had been a terrible call, the captain was reinstated and inside the Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina (about 10% full, incidentally, not a great crowd) the designated home team absolutely destroyed their Hispanic opponents 7-0, and while Arfield neither assisted nor scored, the midfield titan played a huge role in the domination the Canadians had.
Playing in an almost new Steve Davis-esque deeper midfield position, Arfield was deeper than we’ve ever seen him for Rangers, sitting behind the centre circle, and while he had licence to advance, he mostly tidied midfield up and kept the ball moving.
Naturally he made forward bursts and nearly scored late on, but his job, and Canada’s, was complete once Jonathan David nabbed his hat trick.
Rangers really do have a player verging on world class. We’d never suggest he’s anything like a Xavi or Messi – you don’t play for Burnley on and off if you’re as special as that.
But he’s real step up in quality from not only what Rangers have had in recent seasons, but even what they had prior to 2012.
While Canada isn’t a throbbing hotbed of football, it’s still a nation to have produced many fine players – and of course, Arfield plays for them via his Canadian dad and did play for the youth internationals of his native Scotland, but when he was overlooked at senior level elected to take the Canadian route.
And added onto his outstanding season for Rangers, this Dechmont-born midfielder’s stock will probably never be higher than it currently is, and it is one of the biggest crimes in Scottish football history that the senior regime didn’t bother with him.
Of course, if they had, it could be that Rangers would never have got him.
It’s even safe to say the current level he’s playing at is higher than anything that might have happened had he indeed played for Scotland. He’s hit the zenith of his career for sure.
Either way, another excellent display for his adopted country, and Rangers will receive back a Scott Arfield in even better fettle than the brilliant one who finished the season on such a high.
And that is a crucial part of Steven Gerrard’s plans going forward.