There were a few things of note to take from Thursday’s victory over Progres, but possibly the most subtle was a hint at the future of Rangers’ defence.
New signing George Edmundson started, and for a mere 21-year old defender, made few mistakes while playing as intelligently and composed as we’d alluded to on the site against St Joseph’s. He appeared to have a smart reading of the game, a strong physical presence, a lack of fear about making the hard tackles, and just generally stood head and shoulders above his more senior partner Connor Goldson.
Which raises a real point – Steven Gerrard didn’t sign this kid to sit him on the bench. He’s learned from his Nikola Katic Joe Worrall error on that one. And Edmundson has impressed more in his past two outings than Katic did in his early appearances.
By this we mean Katic was gaffe-prone. While we loved his attitude, his work ethic and his aerial domination, he was very prone to making big errors, to losing concentration. We always excused these as his learning his trade, but we must admit at a similar age Edmundson has shone brighter.
Which leads us onto Filip Helander. This is a defender Steven Gerrard, if all is pure and holy, has signed to play.
You don’t spend £3M if you don’t intend to play the guy – and therein lies our point. Nothing really stood out last season, none of Rangers’ defensive combinations absolutely nailed it and convinced that they were the solution.
But with Edmundson’s impressive start and the massive investment in Helander, is that the duo Gerrard is plumping for?
Obviously they will need to gel together and have an understanding, but we can’t help feeling Gerrard has earmarked both Katic and Goldson as depth (even if he spins them all as equal options) and will hope to play Ed and Helander.
The fact is having a rotational defence won’t work for Rangers – hell, it doesn’t work for anyone. You need your settled first-choice duo at the back, notwithstanding injury, and allow them to form the spine of the team thereafter.
But, of course, we hear you cry – what of £3M man Goldson? Surely he’s not going to go to the bench?
Well, the fact is he simply wasn’t impressive for Rangers, and continues to be unimpressive to this day. He has never stood out as a consistently great stopper at Ibrox, and we reckon as soon as Gerrard is able to pitch Helander and Ed in as his main duo, that’s the option he’ll take.
As with it all, time will tell.