When Rangers’ XI was released pre-kick off on Thursday, one of the most intriguing comments, echoed by more than a few, was the sentiment of relief Scott Arfield wasn’t in it.
Not ‘glad he’s getting a rest’, you understand, but ‘thank God he’s out’. And of course he came on at 73 minutes, and Rangers then scored twice. But that’s probably irrelevant…
Indeed, almost every time we give the Canada international a 7 or an 8 in the ratings, we get criticism back that he did nothing and we’re overrating him.
As such; just why is he so underrated and why have so many Rangers fans seemingly turned their backs on Scott Arfield?
A fantastic Bosman last season, Arfield was one of the tenets of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers vision. A Canada international, an experienced PL player with quality of the top order and plenty of time in both Scotland and England’s Championship, Arfield’s attributes have been obvious from day one.
True, he won’t dribble much, he’s not the quickest in pace and he doesn’t tend to pick out many of the cross-field raking passes ala Steven Davis.
But that’s not why he’s in the team.
We’re puzzled as to why one of the hardest working players in Rangers’ squad is so underappreciated as to be rejected by some fans now.
Let’s look at his stats as an example:
Against Young Boys, Arfield committed 4 tackles (the most in a Rangers shirt, more than any team mate) and an interception. In passing he was second only to Barisic in key passes, managing 2 to the Croat’s 3. And in terms of on the ball he received it 54 times, with only Jack getting it more outside the defence.
Our point? On and off the ball, Arfield works extremely hard – he gets into positions to receive the ball as much as anyone, and crucially covers a tonne of ground. His heatmap is extremely spread and he rarely sits in one position at all.
And yet a lot of fans seem to be disinterested in his merits these days.
Are you one of them?