There is set to be a lot of change at Ibrox as Rangers prepare to unveil a new management team in Michael Beale and his imminently former backroom staff at Queens Park Rangers.
But one of the things which matters most to Rangers supporters, aside obviously results, is exactly what the futures of the players are now, and who might stay, who might go, and how Beale’s return changes things.
Ibrox Noise takes a look at some of the who’s who of the players who will and won’t be influenced by this change at the top, and in particular, what players may welcome Beale’s return.
Now, there’s a lot of talk of ‘what happened in 6 months’ to see the team that got to Sevilla turning into a crumpled mess with no confidence. Well, one key difference is it wasn’t the same team.
The team which disintegrated by October only had a handful of the key players of Sevilla, and those players were, 100%, Steven Gerrard and Michael Beale’s Rangers. Giovanni van Bronckhorst was being polite saying this was his own team, because it wasn’t, and he knew that.
Of all the prominent players under Beale, only James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Borna Barisic, and Ryan Kent had actually been significant this season, with youth, fringe and GVB signings very much taking over.
The most prominent players since Sevilla had been McLaughlin, Sands, Lundstram, Tillman, Colak, and fringe cycling of the Sakalas, Matondos, Davises and Jack.
In short, Beale will be very much looking at both players coming back from injury, which are mostly his players bar Souttar, Lawrence and Yilmaz, and the January window to bring new stuff in.
So where does it leave Kent, Morelos and Kamara? We suggested in an earlier entry that it changes nothing for Kamara – we stand by that – he wants out, and has wanted out since even before Gerrard left. But Morelos and Kent? Beale may be especially keen to hold onto them, because both were, at times, unplayable under him before. His return may change the picture for their desire to leave.
One key area is the captaincy – Steven Gerrard made James Tavernier permanent captain – was that endorsed by Beale? Will he stick by that?
And what about midfield? Who will be Beale’s enforcer, who will he want to replace?
There are so many questions about personnel and anyone making certain claims is probably barking up the wrong tree.
While Beale’s previous spell gives clues, he wasn’t the executive at that point, and he may have very different stamps to put on the team than his old boss did.
It will be fascinating to see Michael Beale’s Rangers and how it shapes up.