We know we’ve been a grumpy lot recently on the site, with a loss v Celtic flanked by an unconvincing win over Livi. But we do have a genuine source of optimism, and that was the performance of Ryan Kent, who in 43 minutes before his tragic injury looked every inch the £7.5M winger Rangers paid for.
We know this guy is a special talent, and we’ve seen him at his best – on Saturday he showed every indication he’s going to move to a new height from the already impressive bar he’s set himself previously.
There were three obvious impacts from his selection in the team (ignoring the arguably misguided nature of starting him in the first place) – and that was his own quality on the ball, his searing pace, and the effect he had on those around him.
Ryan Kent’s touch, composure, and intelligence on the ball has massively improved – it was already good, but now it looks like it’s benefited from pre-season with Liverpool (before he was completely axed from the U23s in early August) whereby he uses the ball much more cleverly now and links even better with those around him.
If we thought he was quick before, he’s a monster now. One deep Steven Davis pass way overcooked in the first half summed Kent up, as the winger impossibly caught it and managed to make something happen from it. Then another later on as Ojo delivered a terrible ‘cross’ but Kent managed to retrieve it too. His pace is demonic, frankly, and while we don’t wish to exaggerate we’re struggling to remember a Rangers player who was as quick as this. Ever. It’s going to hurt a lot of teams this season.
Effect on others:
This is entwined with the first two, but because Kent’s energy and movement are so electric, and his one-touch passing and moving so astute and sharp, he is pushing those around him also to respond and raise their game. As Ibrox Noise’s Derek pointed out, he has an impact on the effort levels of those around him – literally due to their intent to keep up with him.
Kent excited us, before his injury. He looked stonkingly lively, filled with pace, trickery and movement and he looked like he hadn’t spent a day out of the team.
He looked like he was worth the cash, and Rangers are only going to benefit from this – it’s just a crying shame he’s out for up to a month, because unlike last season, he doesn’t need time to get up to speed and blend in – it took him months last season to settle in, but this time he fit like a glove from the first whistle.
It’s just tragic he won’t be playing to the whistle again for a while.