We’ve obviously discussed the injury to Leon King, and the setback for Dujon Sterling, which means critically, we have absolutely no one covering John Souttar and Ben Davies at present. Which is dire going into a new season.
We’ll get to the implications of THAT (we’re doing that a lot today) in a later entry, but for now, does Leon Balogun’s hasty return mean an end to Jonathan Panzo, Auston Trusty and indeed the club’s attempts at bringing in a shiny new major summer defensive addition?
There’s no question Rangers’ work in the transfer market regarding defenders has been complete tripe since Steven Gerrard took charge.
As a midfielder, with an assistant who favoured attacking football systems, Gerrard set the tone for low priority at the back, signing just Connor Goldson, a modest Championship defender, and Niko Katic (an untried Croat he ended up dumping) for the rear end.
Rangers’ lack of focus at the rear, since 2018, has been literally ghastly. While there’s rightful praise for Borna Barisic and Ridvan Yilmaz (to an extent anyway) centrally Rangers’ work has been dire.
Filip Helander was always injured, Leon Balogun suffered a similar fate, and the only truly top defender we’ve signed is John Souttar, who ended up being a crock too.
We’re not quite sure why Rangers have gone from Walter Smith’s iron curtain of David Weir, Ugo Ehiogu and Carlos Cuellar to tolerating the absolute sh*te we have at the rear these days.
Walter’s side never let cheap goals in, now they’re quite a standard occurrence when you have Ben Davies and formerly James Sands at the back.
And the situation remains dire. We have just two fit defenders going into the new campaign, and one of them, Davies, is miles below standard, and the backup we did have, King, was pretty poor in himself too.
Balogun’s return helps the situation a bit, but Rangers have done this to themselves. No Panzo, no Trusty, no quality defenders coming in the front door and a real lack of obvious major interest in fixing that.
For a side who relies on James Tavernier as a defending RB, this situation really is no surprise.
It’s just not how Walter used to do it.