Rangers’ Borna Barisic’s World Cup adventure ends today, as Zlatko Dalic drops first choice Borna Sosa (who had, frankly, a pretty shabby World Cup and was absolutely shocking against Argentina) AND Rangers’ first choice man in favour of a back three with five in midfield.
Barisic managed a single appearance in this tournament and did no worse than Sosa at his best, but was ruthlessly dumped for the quarter final win over Brazil, before the semi final saw Sosa and Gvardiol absolutely obliterated. And not even just by Messi, but by the lot, as Croatia’s aging squad finally told and their rearguard torn apart.
Barisic’s only outing was against Japan, and he far from disgraced himself, managing to be one of the top-rated players on the day, in terms of performance over 90 minutes.
He may get recuperation time now, but not much, given some Premier League players are already back in training, such as Arsenal’s Thomas Partey whose Ghana went out at the group stage and Celtic’s Maida played today in their match v Aberdeen despite only going out of the tournament 12 days ago.
He probably won’t feature on Tuesday but we’d suggest he will be part of proceedings come next weekend, which solves a bit of a selection hole at Ibrox for Michael Beale.
But his world cup was all about covering for Borna Sosa, and against Japan he did that – but his manager wasn’t interested in him as anything more than that and in a formation change v Morocco, Barisic plays no part from the start.
Stuttgart’s Sosa is 100% the first pick in this position, under this coach anyway, and Barisic will have to make do with a supporting role. Of course, there’s room for a renaissance under Michael Beale and we’ll see if a change in manager will see Barisic return back to his best form and gain favour again under Dalic.
But for now, he’s ready to come home to Rangers and finally shore up the left side of defence which screams out for him, given Ridvan is months away and Devine isn’t ready.