Another topic we’ve skirted around but not really taken on properly is the injuries. The absolute plague of injuries completely ravaging the Rangers squad to unprecedented levels, leaving Giovanni van Bronckhorst with just 14 players out field ‘definitely’ available.
So, let’s get to the theories, rumours, reasons and whatnot.
The first big story we’ve heard from quite a few sources actually puts the blame indirectly at the manager’s door here. The rumour we’ve heard is Giovanni is so obsessed with football, with the technique, tactics and playstyle etc, that he’s done it to the complete cost of fitness.
Gone are the days of Steven Gerrard and Michael Beale’s intense fitness sessions of just running and physical labour, replaced now by pure football. It’s a very Dutch approach, total football, but Gio seems to be getting the balance wrong with this squad and the players’ fitness has gone to the dogs.
Now, the big issue we have with this notion is the incredible fitness Rangers had during the tail end of last season – to manage so many extra time matches and do so well, before winning the cup at Hampden, once again after 120 minutes, does suggest if there’s any truth to this rumour, it’s something that has changed this season.
It also doesn’t address the Hagis, Morelos, Helanders and Roofes who had/have basically been injured all of 2022. Or does it do exactly that? Who knows.
The second theory, a bit vague this one, is that the players have downed tools and if even a workhorse like Fashion Sakala is now out then it claims that players’ attitudes are gone, and they’re actively ‘being injured’ because they just can’t be bothered. Kemar Roofe spawned this theory due to the persistent injuries he’s had all of his Rangers career, and especially this year, with information coming to us that Rangers wanted rid of him in the summer due to that poor attitude of effectively ‘hypochondria’.
And this theory has a bit of gravity – how can guys like Arfield, Lunny and Tav completely avoid injury or even play through the pain, while so many others are just never available. This suggests it’s mental as much as anything, that some players have absolutely got the right attitude, while so many just don’t.
And then there’s the medical theory, that something is just not working right with the medical or nutritional staff that so many injuries are taking place. We can’t add much to that, it’s extremely thin – but it is hinting the docs are just not very good that whatever diet or medical the players are on is not working for the squad.
This one is a bit out there.
But whatever it is at Ibrox, it’s the worst we’ve ever seen and only seems to be getting worse.
We’d like to see an improvement but not any time soon, it seems.