Our piece on Connor Goldson yesterday was infinitely-better received than we believed it would be, with only one, maybe two readers feeling otherwise about our views on the Ibrox defender, and the absolute lion’s share of views from dozens and dozens of responses were relief that a site as big as Ibrox Noise was willing to express such a potentially taboo and critical take on our vice-captain.
One of the big views in response, however, that we did want to address was the notion that the Cuellars, Goughs and Weirs are of the past and we are not ‘in that place’ any more, which is why we have to settle for a ‘lesser model’ like Goldson.
The rebuttal we have at Ibrox Noise is that ‘settling’ is never what Rangers should do, and we want to get back into ‘that place’ again. If Celtic can have a colossus like Carter-Vickers, why can’t Rangers?
We can be in ‘that place’ again, and indeed, John Souttar is patently a massive step up from Goldson as it is.
Another angle from our readers is Goldson is very good on the ball and building play from the rear – and that’s not completely untrue. Unfortunately he mostly lumps the ball forward and often gives it straight back to the opponent.
And furthermore, we recall a lot of praise for Souttar being able to do the same thing, with a multitude of ‘I didn’t know he had that to his game’ and ‘excellent from the back there from Souttar’ with more than a hint of surprise that he wasn’t a carthorse like many seemed to think.
The reason Goldson does it is because he’s really a defensive midfielder – he’s not really a proper defender at all. He’s composed on the ball for sure, like most ball-playing midfielders are, but when it comes to brute-force defending, he’s found wanting and exposed a lot. When we look at how physical and powerful Souttar by comparison is, we see the issue with Goldson.
Goldson is kind of like Javier Mascherano who was a midfielder shovelled back into defence by ex-Barca manager Pep Guardiola – he did a good enough job back there but it wasn’t his position by trade. Even though it is where Goldson has always been, he’s never been a big and strong stopper, at least, not for the calibre of a club like Rangers.
So what happens now?
Well, we’re not against he and Souttar as a partnership, but it does lack the leftie and righty balance, with both players the same. Is that really an issue? It could be, but could be overcome if the duo works well.
And they are a decent foil in theory – Goldson with his ball-playing and aerial prowess (he is very good in the air) while Souttar has the powerful stopping and reading of lines.
So is that a path forward? It could be. But we definitely need a proper leftie in there too, hence looking at quite a few.
But with preseason nearly upon us, the sooner that work is done the better.