We’ve been having a bit of debate among ourselves on Ibrox Noise over the virtues of Ryan Kent. Some of us have been extremely critical of his performances this season, goals notwithstanding, while others feel the players around him are letting him down, not working hard enough.
However, there’s something else:
Ryan Kent has managed just one single domestic assist since signing this summer, and it was in the league cup.
League wise, in 13 appearances, this winger hasn’t managed a solitary setup, not one.
He has, however, scored quite a few, putting away a decent 6, which is just under one in every two.
In short, Kent’s position switch, from hugging the left wing to more central, has benefited his goalscoring but killed his creativity.
The major reason we’re getting a different Ryan Kent to the one we signed is because of where he now plays – which leads us to a radical suggestion:
Is Rangers’ third striker already on our books and called, you guessed it, Ryan Kent?
If we pushed him completely central, and put him behind Alfredo Morelos, switched Jordan Jones out to the left and put ‘someone’ (Aribo?) out wide on the right, we’d have as classic a 4-4-2 as it’s possible to get.
And more crucially, we’d have a plan B for when Morelos gets suspended.
Jones left, ‘someone’ right, and Kent through the middle rather than Defoe who just doesn’t have the legs to run the line.
True, it’s not the big centre forward target man we need, and that does still remain a bit of a problem, but we can rely on Kent for goals – he is, after all, the club’s third top scorer with only two absolute strikers ahead of him, and in all honesty, he’s an auxiliary winger/striker anyway these days.
He’s just NOT playing as a pure winger now, he’s too central – and that’s at the behest of the manager – and while it’s basically destroyed his creativity and gives him essentially no assists at all, it does mean he scores more, a lot more.
Why not go the whole hog and convert this flying frontman into an out-and-out striker?
If there’s anyone his style reminds us of, it’s the modern Lionel Messi super striker model:
Low centre of gravity, tricky, fast, and a fantastic turn of direction. Ok, he’s not even a billionth as good as the Argentinian master, we’re not idiots – but he does play that kind of style, with the speed and the dribbling.
Might as well go the whole way and make him a number 9 – in the style of a Messi, a Suarez, a Ronaldo – these megafrontmen who do it all, and not just score.
Right now, Kent is in a nowhere land, not excelling because he’s not got free roam on the wing, nor is he able to play like an out and out striker.
If he was solid in one slot, we might just get more from him.
Just a thought.