Stephen Kelly’s loan to Salford City is a curious sign, and a small echo, dare we say it, of both Greg Docherty and Ross McCrorie.
Those two were youngsters, albeit only one of them came through our academy, and both were, of course, Scottish, but under Steven Gerrard both got loaned out, and saw their Rangers careers over at that point.
The most telling part was the age – Greg Docherty, in particular, was justified with his loan by fans defending Gerrard by saying it was all about age and experience, but Gerrard had also signed Ovie Ejaria and Lassana Coulibaly, who were both the same age.
It was simple – Gerrard just didn’t favour some players, no matter what they did. He had his favourites, and that was that.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has had a stellar start to life in Govan as manager, and it’s hard to fault a single decision he’s made.
But the Kelly one sees a 21 year old midfielder loaned out, and a 21 year old one signed, in NYCFC’s James Sands.
If Kelly was deemed good enough by this regime, wouldn’t he have remained as part of the first team?
It was Gerrard who promoted him to senior training, but barely used him after that, and Gio, let’s be fair, is more ruthless in a clinical fashion. That is, he doesn’t have favourites, he is just focused.
And this loan for 21-year old Kelly hints Gio doesn’t rate him.
Which is a shame, because we did think he looked very promising in pre-season.
But we do trust this manager, and he can see Arfield and Kamara ahead of Kelly, plus, now, Sands, a USA international.
And that’s the bit we can’t forget either. Kelly only has caps for youth level in Scotland, he’s not made the step up to senior, while Sands already has quite a few for a pretty strong USA.
It says a lot.
Time will tell if Sands or Kelly goes on to have the better career, but GVB has made his judgement call and it’s the Sands of time that have prevailed here.