Stevie G hints at change of Rangers policy over Stephen Kelly

Stevie G hints at change of Rangers policy over Stephen Kelly
Stephen Kelly of Rangers controls the ball during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Tranmere Rovers and Rangers at Prenton Park on July 10th 2021 in Birkenhead, England Where: Birkenhead, Merseyside, United Kingdom When: 10 Jul 2021 Credit: Richard Ault/phcimages/Cover Images **NOT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS** PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRA Copyright: xRichardxAult/phcimages/CoverxImagesx 41577462

Steven Gerrard made a very, very intriguing statement at the weekend about Stephen Kelly, and it certainly got our attention.

“We’ve decided to keep Stephen around the group. We feel his loan opportunities, with all due respect, would have been better spent training alongside Steven Davis Glen Kamara Joe Aribo and testing himself against that level of player.”

This we find a very, very telling comment.

Stephen Kelly’s loans were at Ayr Utd and Ross County, and Stevie G has for the first time as Rangers manager criticised loans, or the quality of them, and sought instead to have the player at Ibrox.

Stevie is clear – he believes the loans were a waste of time, and he wants Kelly to be at Auchenhowie, training with the likes of Davis and Kamara, to improve his own level.

Now, this is such a loaded statement.

It’s loaded because previously Gerrard was all about getting a player minutes to improve his development, and it’s even more fascinating because in the very same press conference he regales Robby McCrorie’s loans as being the right path despite the fact they were exactly the same level as Kelly’s and McCrorie could have been training at Auchenhowie alongside Allan McGregor.

What does all this mean?

Potentially that different plans are used for different players, and in Kelly’s case, Gerrard underestimated his quality until watching him pre-season. It became clear, it seems, that this kid was far too good to go out on loan, and following Nnambi Oboforh’s health issues, that position is a little light at the moment and lacks Ryan Jack too.

What does the future hold for Kelly? What we would say is Stevie’s comments allude to our observations in a previous entry. Stevie says what he says for reasons known only to him – sometimes he’s purely honest, others he says something inconsistent with known facts. And there’ll be legitimate reasons for why he’s said it.

So we couldn’t guess the future for Kelly – but we are extremely pleased that he and McCrorie are staying in the first-team squad and might just finally be exceptions to the loan rule under Gerrard.

Time will tell.

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  1. I have to agree with the manager. I often wonder about the wisdom of sending our academy graduates out on loan. Yes, they need to get experience and minutes on the pitch but surely we can pitch them into a better level, e.g. would lower league Premiership clubs not be happy to take Kai Kennedy. Playing in the Championship or lower might give them games and toughen them up but it’s a long way back from there to play for Rangers. I’m already thinking Kennedy won’t make it. But if we are going to keep Kelly with the squad then he HAS to get game time.
    PS: I think goalkeepers a wee bit different. You still need to make saves regardless of the quality of the play or the players round about you. And a wee bit of rough and tumble in the lower leagues might help toughen them up.


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