Following on-loan Rangers winger Glenn Middleton’s sterling free kick yesterday, it’s no surprise to see fans raising an eyebrow at the attacker’s attributes and performance at McDiarmid Park.
Middleton, completely axed by Steven Gerrard, isn’t quite ‘thriving’ at Saints, but does have 3 goals and an assist in 10 appearances for them, so we wanted to look at his plight in more detail.
Let’s look at Saints’ trip to Hibs:
The match-winner in this one, Middleton was playing as a 10, with 3 shots, 2 of which were on target.
But his passing level was average at best, at a mere 64%, with just 17 in total attempted.
Middleton is, and always has had, talent – but his game needs a major level of improving if he’s ever to break through at Ibrox.
It’s all very well scoring a scorching goal in a showpiece occasion, but Steven Gerrard is looking for players with the right attitude, work ethic, and consistency to do it each match – Middleton, still only 21, broke through so impressively in 2018 but his development didn’t flow as planned and he lost his way.
Is he good enough for Rangers?
We’d honestly say a top 6 SPL side is about Middleton’s level, because the gulf from Rangers to the rest is vast, and we don’t think he’s shown enough quality to suggest he could usurp Ryan Kent or even provide competition.
Let’s look at Scott Wright for a comparison, a little older, true, at 23, but the same position and currently the competition to Kent.
His last SPL start saw him get more of the ball than Middleton (not that shocking given Rangers’ possession levels) but his passing level was higher (70%) and he made more (27). Just like Middleton he scored (ironically enough in the 1-1 v Saints), but unlike Middleton he made more use of the ball, with 3 successful dribbles to just one.
We’re not calling Wright Messi by any means, but he’s shown that kind of work and quality since he joined, and he’s even pushing for a first team place.
Middleton is a bit off that at present, and we think his career is better spent developing at a club like St Johnstone.