Thursday, 13 February 2020

England v Scotland - a Rangers divide?


Greg Docherty. Yes, again we’re banging on about this kid.

Nothing has frustrated us more from the start of Steven Gerrard’s reign at Ibrox than his atrocious treatment of this outstanding talent, a 23-year old midfield dynamo every inch as good as anything we have in Govan, but who’s been cast aside without any consideration by his manager.

A manager, we hasten to add, so keen to avoid Docherty he signed an inferior player from the same division Docherty excelled in to replace him.

And when we look at the malaise under Steven Gerrard now, the sh*tty attitudes, the lazy football, the lethargic passing and abhorrent lack of movement, a hungry, angry, rabid Bear like Docherty who will give you the moon and more would have been such a bonus in the side.

But no, he’s destroying them all at Hibs instead, as he did at Shrewsbury last time around – and it’s not the only player Gerrard has just never given a second glance to.

Jamie Murphy, Jordan Jones, Matt Polster, Ross McCrorie, Greg Stewart, Glenn Middleton, Nikola Katic and Jordan Rossiter to name but seven are examples of players this manager, to varying degrees, just wasn’t interested in using, in giving chances to, in persisting with.

No, James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Glen Kamara, Joe Aribo and until recently Sheyi Ojo were the types of guys who just always got in, regardless of how they were playing.

And when you look at that list, there is something deeply striking about the first list compared with the second:

The nationalities.

We’ve heard about this before, and it sounded ridiculous, but now that we look at the main list of players who Stevie gives complete slack to compared with the list he never gave a chance to, certain patterns stick out.

Scottish players, Jack, Arfield (kinda) and McGregor aside, just don’t get a chance under this manager. Look at the number of decent Scottish players Steven Gerrard hasn’t bothered with this season (Murphy, Docherty, Middleton, McCrorie, Stewart).

Now the ones he unreasonably always favoured – Tavernier, Goldson, Ojo – all English, and while Kamara and Aribo are Finnish and Nigerian respectively, both made their careers in England and are effectively raised English.

We’re not calling Gerrard xenophobic, and indeed this article was more ‘why has he rejected certain players’ but the more we look into this, the more we do wonder how much truth is in it.

The three non-Scots to receive dodgy treatment are Jones (effectively English but plays for NI), Katic (Croatian), and the biggest aberration Rossiter but otherwise, the overall pattern does seem to fit. Even Jon Flanagan was partially untouchable till recently when Barisic rose.

There is barely a difference between Ross McCrorie and Glen Kamara in ability, only style, but one of them gets a free pass under Stevie while the other was dumped to League One first chance the manager got.

This is not scientific, and we are not accusing the manager of anything whatsoever, but we can’t help but notice a pattern with some players.

That there is a bit of a difference in how non-English players are dealt with compared with English, and it probably isn’t even intentional. A bit like how Dick Advocaat favoured the Dutch back in the day.

But it may well be there.

Let us know if you think there’s any foundation to this.

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