Steven Gerrard explained the reasoning yesterday as to why Brandon Barker was withdrawn from tonight’s UEL squad and Filip Helander replaced him, without actually explaining it at all, while managing to perhaps contradict himself in the process.
As we know Barker was initially included for the trip to Poland, while the headlines revolved around Swede Helander’s omission.
Gerrard yesterday explained that Uefa demand a squad list be submitted inside 24 hours of a side’s successful entry into the next round of the competition, and therefore he was unable to properly plan the 22 players he was going to use. He further explained you have until 24 hours before the match to submit your final entry, during which in the meantime any alterations can be accepted.
However, the curiosity is that prior to the second leg v the Danes, Gerrard slapped down a journo asking him if he would be using Barker for the 90 minutes, by pointing out the winger hadn’t been included on the squad so obviously he couldn’t be used.
But the manager was at pains to point out how unfortunate this was, and dropped a strong hint that if he’d been able to use him, he would have.
And yet Barker was the one removed from the reckoning yesterday in favour of a defender?
This is not us looking for negativity for negativity’s sake, and we’ve loved everything Rangers this season – and are fully behind the side to deliver in Poland.
But on top of the renewed story about Ryan Kent returning, as well as Barker’s omission from the squad to face Legia, Gerrard’s reasoning really is a bit curious.
It’s maybe, as those who like to be angry about everything would say, a bit of a non-story, but analysing the manager and what he says is part of what we do here, and this one is certainly worth noting.
But nevertheless, In Stevie We Trust.