The world cup is only weeks away, and Rangers have a number of contenders to travel to the Middle East. None of them are close to being a shoe-in, which gives some idea of how poor the squad at present actually is, but nevertheless Ibrox Noise gives you a hint of who could get the call.
First off, a bitesize list:
Scott Arfield (Canada), Rabbi Matondo (Wales), Antonio Colak (Croatia), Borna Barisic (Croatia), James Sands (USA), and Malik Tillman (USA).
Looking at them in a bit more detail, Scott Arfield retired in the Spring, having had enough of the travelling, but there’s no question he’d be up for it if his NT boss makes the call. He has already said as much. Unfortunately, sources say John Herdman is extremely unlikely to make that call through loyalty to the players who got the Canucks to Qatar. Chances: 3/10
Matondo is a very slim chance. He was called up to their last international friendly squad but was not even an unused sub in either match. We can’t see him going. 1/10
Antonio Colak has a decent chance. Croatia have three good strikers, and he’s the most in-form of them. His chances of going to Qatar are healthy. 6/10
Borna Barisic has massive competition on his side of defence – we’re not sure Dalic will want three left backs, and it’s more likely to be Sosa (who wasn’t at the Euros due to a conflict of choice between Croatia and Germany) and Gvardiol. His chances are slimmer. 4/10
James Sands hasn’t featured for USA for quite a while, March this year his last outing, and he was only an unused sub. Hasn’t actually played for them in over a year so his chances are, frankly, extremely low, even though he’s in good form. 4/10
Malik Tillman got the call in the last break and played both matches as a sub – indeed, all four of his caps are as sub. He’s never started a match for his country, but he has a solid if not great chance of being included in Qatar. 5/10
It’s a little disappointing – gone are the days Rangers would have guarantees at these competitions. Even last summer it was Helander, Barisic, McLaughlin, Patterson and Kamara – all of whom who were pretty much guaranteed a squad place, albeit only one of them was a starter.
Now? Not a single Rangers player is even close to being a starter this world cup apart from Arfield. And that’s only if the surprise happens and his coach makes the call.
Times sure have changed in a year and a half.