John Souttar, Filip Helander, Connor Goldson, Ridvan Yilmaz, Ben Davies, Ianis Hagi and Tom Lawrence may on the face of it look like a chronic injury crisis, but the reality is quite different.
Rangers have been without most of these players, on and off, for the bulk of 2022, but there’s something distinctly missing for this to actually be a true crisis:
Midfield. And, for that matter attack.
That’s right, all of Rangers’ injuries bar Hagi (returning soon we hope) and Lawrence (ditto) are defenders, so the crisis is far more of a defensive one than a crisis, period.
Of course, having no defenders is a bit of a disaster in itself, but it does show new Rangers manager Michael Beale that all he needs is to have a few defensive options, and suddenly he’s got pretty much a whole Rangers squad ready for action.
When it comes to midfield Rangers are completely stocked up – we can agree or disagree about the abilities and attitudes of players in there, but the bodies are fit. Same with wing and attack – attacking midfield, the flanks and up front aren’t missing anybody bar the Romanian and Wales men, and those happen to be the most filled-out parts of the squad anyway.
Of course, Hagi and Lawrence will be welcomed back with open arms, but if anyone thinks Beale doesn’t have a squad of options, they’re being short-sighted.
Even Beale himself has said this squad is more than decent – the issue is the absolute dire straits in defence, with five men unavailable at present. We definitely need more than just James Sands, James Tavernier and Leon King, with Borna away in Qatar.
But when we look elsewhere, there’s depth a-plenty. This is of course not the same thing as relying on Steven Davis, or thinking Glen Kamara is suddenly back to his best form – it’s just pointing out the bodies are there and they’re all fit.
Beale has more to work with than fans think, and as we close in towards the start of his tenure in earnest on the pitch, even more of these players will become available.
Well, we certainly hope so for Beale and Rangers’ sake for sure.