Ok, we’re going to cover this one, such has been the number of comments mentioning it the past few days.
There is no doubt Steven Gerrard is building a serious Rangers squad.
There is quality all over the park now and the only position we’re not happy with is left back. But that’s another 500 articles we’ve already covered.
The problem, though, that this seemingly-healthy state of affairs has caused is that excellent (and some not-so-excellent) players are now reduced to bit-part actors, fringe personnel and they just aren’t getting the minutes they’ll want.
Wes Foderingham, Matt Polster, George Edmundson, Filip Helander, Andy Halliday, Borna Barisic, Greg Docherty, Jamie Murphy, Greg Stewart, Jake Hastie and a bunch of others are not really getting much in the way of minutes at all, and even though the first XI is delivering and no one can complain about that, they can at a basic level complain they’re just not getting to play themselves.
If we look at Gerrard’s match-day structure, there’s essentially a 15-man core XI squad he rotates between.
The guaranteed three starters appear to be Tavernier, Goldson and Jack. But first-team cycling regulars are pretty much the rest. McGregor, Katic, Foderingham, Flanagan/Barisic/Halliday, Kamara, Davis, Aribo, Arfield, Ojo, Jones, Morelos and Defoe are the circa 12 players the remaining 8 slots are cycling between at the moment.
And this is fine, we are getting the results to vindicate it.
But it is leaving a pile of unhappy players who remain consigned to the fringes and will be impatiently waiting for their chance. And only really getting such a chance with cup matches.
Now, this probably sounds like we’re whining that we have too many good players – we’re not. It’s good that Rangers have this kind of issue. It’s the kind of ‘problem’ our club has deserved to have for long enough.
But it still leaves a whole bunch of players who only get fleeting appearances – guys like Polster, Barisic, Helander, Edmundson, Docherty and a pile more will wonder if and when they’ll ever get to play. All have indeed featured, but increasingly less as the serious business got underway.
And we hope it doesn’t cause any kind of disharmony or resentment.
We know this squad gets on very well indeed and has a bunch of social groups it bonds into, but when push comes to shove these guys all want to play, and 38 into XI doesn’t fit.
But hey, that’s why Stevie’s the manager and not us!