Michael Beale tactic robbed Rangers of Todd Cantwell at Parkhead

Michael Beale tactic robbed Rangers of Todd Cantwell at Parkhead
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 08: Michael Beale, Head Coach of Rangers FC, arrives at the stadium prior to the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at Celtic Park on April 08, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Three Rangers men have come under fire from Ibrox Legend Brian Laudrup, namely Todd Cantwell, Ryan Kent and Malik Tillman.

Ibrox Noise has called Kent out for Saturday too, and we admit now after incessantly defending him in face of criticism pretty much since he joined, that his Rangers race is run and it’s better for him to move on pastures now.

Malik Tillman just doesn’t have it in the first place – one thing to do it against Dundee Utd and St Johnstone, another to do it against good teams, and Tillman has never stepped up in any significant match as a Rangers player, bar one – PSV away, in which his assist got Antonio Colak the winning goal. Aside that? Deadweight.

So we are absolutely not criticising the Great Dane for his thoughts on Kent or the German-born attacker – we agree completely there.

We do, however, take a little issue with his criticism of Todd Cantwell.

Cantwell, naturally a playmaker and creative force, was instructed by Beale to play in an unconventional defensive midfield role, on the right of the pitch, as opposed to his more natural and advanced central midfield slot where he can do damage.

So, yes, 100% he did not have the influence in the match he is capable of, but that’s because Beale’s instruction had Cantwell running around as a defensive influence, and anyone who felt he didn’t work hard was ‘watching a different game’.

Defensively? Tackles, 2, interceptions, 2, clearances, 1. Offensively? A single shot off target and just one dribble.

That is how he was asked to play, to help out Raskin and Jack in midfield defensively, and we saw it from the start as he chased home players down.

So to say that he wasn’t great and didn’t influence the match is a bit unfair. He simply wasn’t able to play his normal game, and was pressing more than anything else.

A look at his heatmap alone backs this up – mostly defensive in his own half, on the right, and not playing his usual game.

Honestly, we’re not sure why Michael Beale set up him this way, because it nullified his best attributes. It wasted him a bit. Another Old Firm gaffe from our brilliant coach who was less responsible for this failure but still finds himself coming up well short against them.

So, that’s why Cantwell was not influential – but Laudrup was certainly correct about Kent and Tillman.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

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