With the games coming thick and fast for Stevie G and his boys at the moment, one thing is particularly standing out that hasn’t been apparent in previous seasons – excellent squad management.
It’s all well and good having a strong “first eleven” and a couple of decent subs if you’re looking for mediocrity and to nearly win some silverware, but to be producing the levels of performance that we’ve been reaching of late; you need more.
It’s clear that the work we’re doing on the training pitch is absolutely spot on and we’re a very difficult team to beat at the moment. That comes from every player knowing his role inside out and actually going out there and fulfilling it as instructed. Again, it’s easy to have eleven or twelve guys who conform to this, but what happens when injury, illness or suspension hits? When you’re Stevie G and the famous Glasgow Rangers, the answer to that is simple – nothing changes.
That’s because we’ve got a full squad of high calibre individuals that have formed a team ethic, the like of which we haven’t enjoyed at Ibrox for far too long now. Yes, there’s arguably a “first choice” eleven based on consistency, balance and style of play, but it is no exaggeration to say that we could fill every position on the park twice over and have two teams just about as strong as our overall “first eleven”.
For example, Filip Helander gets a slight knock after the Celtic victory, in slots Leon Balogun for Liege. Barisic limps off in Belgium, on comes Bassey who has an absolute stormer. Kamara gets a rest against Motherwell having played a lot of football lately, Jack comes back in and does what he does best. Aribo comes back from injury to give the sensational Scotty Arfield a rest and scores within 9 minutes, Defoe comes in for his first start of the season against Livvie (a team we couldn’t score against earlier in the season) scores a worldy. Then of course, Alfredo is a little quiet in Belgium, off he comes for the returning Roofe….and well we all know what happened next.
We’re performing in every area of the pitch, regardless of who occupies it. You have to look at Gerrard as a leader and think – look at what this man has created. Here’s a whole squad of players who are performing week-in, week-out for their manager and for each other, carrying out what’s asked of them with what looks from the outside, consummate ease.
That sense of leadership and absolute winning mentality that made Gerrard into the footballing legend that he is is now beginning to translate into his team. There must have been occasions in days gone by where fans of Liverpool and England alike would ponder the metaphor “if only we had eleven Stevie Gerrards on the pitch”.
Well at the moment anyway, that’s exactly what we have, as well as another fifteen ready and raring to come in as and when required.
Happy days, long may it continue.