With Michael Beale’s Rangers well and truly in the planning stage, what do we think his maiden Rangers XI to face Bayer Leverkusen will be?
Well, that might be a friendly but it is very much a dress rehearsal for the action in earnest when Hibs arrive in Govan on the 15th, so it has gravity and Beale will use it to assess his starting XI to face the Easter Road side.
Who does Ibrox Noise think is going to start this one? Naturally, all bets are off, but Beale needs more from the squad than former manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst ended up getting, so while you may immediately point at a selection and accuse him (rightly in places) of being a waster, it IS a hard reset under this manager and that player’s potential ability is what counts and not his previous ultimate attitude under Gio.
In goal, it’s a toss up between Allan McGregor and Robby McCrorie. McGregor will probably get the nod, but Beale knows McCrorie as well and might use him to show his potential. It is time after all.
Well, James Tavernier has had some time off now to recover from his long-term injury (which applies to a few other players) and may come back reinvigorated, while Adam Devine, despite his promotion to senior squad permanently, is just deputy.
In the middle options remain thin. It’s King and Sands. That can’t change due to lack of alternative.
On the left it could be Borna depending when Croatia exit the world cup and if the LB’s lack of minutes in Qatar mean he’s ready to go for club once he’s back. Of course, Ridvan remains injured and we have no real ETA on him. It will almost certainly be Devine here.
So despite the new manager, defensive issues remain, and Rangers have literally four fit defenders in the entire squad, including fullbacks.
Midfield is a little better. John Lundstram, Steven Davis, and Ryan Jack are all fit so there is some depth, and while Glen Kamara is currently in his homeland, big words are being talked over his Rangers career rebooting under Beale. There’s also rising star Charlie McCann.
Attacking midfield is looking a bit more vibrant. Kemar Roofe is fit again, Ryan Kent looks like he could be a new player, Malik Tillman is up for the fight, Scott Arfield is always on the table, Scott Wright is fit and ready to go, and Alex Lowry could be a whole new signing. Rabbi Matondo is another we could be ready to get a green light with as well.
There are DEFINITELY options for Rangers here.
Up front, it’s still Alfredo and Antonio with youth promotion Zak Lovelace in the mix too now. Good words being said about the former Millwall lad.
So, from that lot it’s only defence that looks desperate. With a few promotions and ‘new manager syndrome’ as well as a few injury returns, Rangers look a little more full in terms of squad.
As for versus Leverkusen?
McCrorie; Tavernier, Sands, King, Devine; Jack, Lundstram, Lowry; Kent, Morelos, Roofe.
While the rearguard is paper thin, once we get to midfield and attack, Rangers suddenly have quite a few options.
Hopefully Beale can get more from these guys.