Now for some shameless, self-indulgence as Ibrox Noise points to this article and says, clearly:
We told you so.
Brandon Barker’s performance yesterday was by far, and away, his best in a Rangers shirt. Taking that pre-season form and finally nailing it in a competitive match that matters, the winger found himself producing a confident, angry, quick, and dynamic display which has won over a tonne of his doubters.
But we already saw it in pre-season, and we told you we were onto something.
See, Barker’s problem was, and always has been till recently, that he is outstanding in training, producing superb form and earning those match chances, but something breaks in competitive action and the same quality goes AWOL.
Manager Steven Gerrard was clear he’d earned a chance to shine, and it was up to him to take it, which he hadn’t really.
Then yesterday came along.
Let’s have a look at those stats:
4 shots, one on target. One key pass, one cross which NEARLY got there but for excellent defending. One aerial duel won (hardly his forte).
All looks good, right? His passing percentage? 91.8 – second highest on the pitch only to Ryan Kent. One successful dribble, many attempts, and two fouls won.
Barker will only get better. These stats show WHY Steven Gerrard has kept on persisting with a player many in the support laughed at, derided.
But when we watched pre-season, pressure off, just like in training – electric, sensational, destroying the defenders of Lyon and Nice for chief’s sake.
That mental block, that stumbling block, of doing that in real action has now been broken.
Barker has proven he can deliver on the meaningful stage.
It’s now his slot to lose, and if he keeps that level up, Barker, staggeringly, could become a mainstay of this Rangers team for years to come and a very valuable asset indeed.