As we discussed earlier, while there is a concern about how many Rangers players are actually ‘good’ enough to get call ups for international duty, more importantly in the short term are those who have been at Auchenhowie with manager Philippe Clement the past week plus and will get that proper full time with the manager, those two weeks’ mini-preseason.
Jack Butland, James Tavernier, Dujon Sterling, John Souttar, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun, Ben Davies, Johnly Yfeko, Borna Barisic, John Lundstram, Nico Raskin, Kieran Dowell, Jose Cifuentes (home early) Todd Cantwell, Tom Lawrence, Rabbi Matondo, Kemar Roofe, Abdallah Sima, Scott Wright, Danilo, Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers will all get the benefit of a full-on two weeks with this manager, something those who are away will miss out on.
That’s the bulk of the squad which gets an extra two weeks on the training ground with, and it has to be said, only breaking-through Ross McCausland and arguably Ryan Jack and Ridvan Yilmaz of those who went away on the break are players of major relevance missing out here.
Which means despite our misgivings about how good the squad is and how few got call ups, the flip side is the manager has had these two weeks to work with just about 95% of his whole group and get more ideas in there.
Of course the return to action is pretty hectic – the only place in Scotland Rangers get a major match on the road aside Parkhead is Pittodrie, and that’s where we’ll be this weekend, but in many ways it’s a perfect return.
It gives us a tough domestic match (Clement’s first real test as Rangers manager domestically) while also showing how much progress there’s been in these two weeks.
The Livi win wasn’t absolutely vintage but it did the job, and now these 22 players who stayed at home have had 7+ days already so far to get in ‘extra tuition’ with the manager and continue Clement’s excellent start at Rangers. Now they have another 6.
While it’s never ideal for a club our size not to have a lot of internationalists away on duty, the silver lining in this case is that still relatively new manager Clement gets a solid fortnight with the lion’s share of his players.
And that has a lot of value indeed.