There’s a bit of debate on some online forums at the moment about Ryan Jack, specifically about his merits and quality these days, and while we all love the man unconditionally, there’s no question that Ryan Jack, sadly, isn’t the player he once was and is best on the bench now.
Like Allan McGregor, he peaked during 55 and while Jack is much younger than McGregor, he’s nowhere near the same level he hit during that sensational season and in his case, the injury has completely disrupted him.
He doesn’t cover James Tavernier’s backside anymore, he’s definitely not the physical hassler he once was, and while he was never the biggest nor much of an enforcer, his game was always about the Raskin style of running, pushing, pressing, and covering.
Now he simply doesn’t have the legs or power or indeed youth to do it anymore, and as we explained a lot of times last season, Michael Beale altered his position into a more advanced midfielder, an attacking midfielder, dare we say it, simply because Jack was no longer able to cover the defensive ground he used to.
And of course, in that position Rangers are pretty stocked up, with around 4 players arguably ahead of the Scotland international; Cantwell, Lowry, Dowell, Hagi and maybe even Lammers.
Jack started last night but looked the leggy and jaded player he’s been pretty much since he returned from that terrible injury – tidy enough in what he did but well off the pace and unable to do much of note.
So why did Rangers extend his deal?
There’s a few reasons really, and they’re all fair.
1: Rangers fan. With McGregor retiring, Arfield leaving and Davis on the brink, Rangers wanted to keep at least one Rangers man with club identity on the roster. Sadly, Jack is the only actual Rangers fan who is now in Rangers’ squad, with all the rest departed or close to it.
2: Sentimentality. It would have seemed harsh to the club to let him go when he’d basically begged for a new deal following the injury. Sadly, this one was a bit of soft touch, and not very ruthless.
3: Experience. Rangers are signing a lot of younger players, and now the older guys with the wise heads are majorly reducing in number. Keeping Jack around is decent for morale and that blend of younger and older.
Jack will be useful from the bench, a wise head with experience and capable of leading by example. We don’t expect him to play much this season, because if Michael Beale is overhauling the squad but sticks with guys like Jack starting in the first team, we’re in trouble.
But we do hope the lad has a role to play next season, because having a bit of experienced bluenose blood is never a bad thing.