So, after his being probably our favourite Rangers player the past two seasons, the change in role for Scott Arfield has rather gone under the radar.
No longer a first pick, for the time being anyway, Arfield has had to be content with a place on the bench and being an impact and stability player later in matches, alongside his new ‘partner in crime’ Steven Davis who has also been given this same new role.
In Arfield’s case we both endorse the decision, and disagree with it at the same time.
Endorsement comes from the fact that Arfield is not a great player for attack, and while he’s a grafter, he’s not exactly well-known for dictating matches in midfield. He’s a leader, and a great link player, but he doesn’t absolutely fit any one position in the front 6 like a glove. He’s not strictly ‘natural’ in any one slot from midfield onwards, instead being a great all-rounder who doesn’t let his team down.
This means Gerrard has proper dedicated players he’s giving those positions to, the Kamaras, the Jacks, the Aribos and Hagis (quirks of the latter two notwithstanding). The results are indeed speaking for themselves.
But the criticism is derived from the positives – Rangers have lost a leader out there, an experienced head to have in midfield and help the others, someone who knows what it’s all about and is more than proficient in midfield, and helping linking midfield to attack. Rangers, generally, play better with him starting than not.
But end of the day, this is the new role for him this season so far.
We’re sure Gerrard will switch about and start him now and then, but while a number of fans have conceded Steven Davis isn’t getting any younger, there’s been less justification about Arfield. Admittedly Arfield is fast approaching 32, which is still fairly young overall, but his peers now don’t go over 27 at the oldest, and we know our manager likes his younger players.
End of the day, it’s a results-based business and Arfield either will or will not accept that his not being in the team is, currently, working.
And that’s all you can say.