Rangers’ playmaker Todd Cantwell is likely to miss Sunday’s League Cup Final with Aberdeen after being ruled out for the trip to Spain on a private family matter, which we understand to be his partner giving birth.
The attacker, 25, has enjoyed a little renaissance of late with better performances thanks to being used in his natural 10 role, and his absence for the clash with Real Betis is already a blow, but his unavailability against Aberdeen is, frankly, the bigger deal.
Manager Philippe Clement has admitted there’s ‘no guarantee’ that Cantwell will be at his disposal this Sunday, and that’s generally manager-talk for ‘there’s barely a dog in hell’s chance he’ll be back’.
“Todd is not here because of personal circumstances. And he wants to keep it personal. So we respect that. The positive thing to say about that is that it’s not something between him or the club, or me or him, it’s family-wise. It’s important that if players want to keep things private we are going to keep things private. Players are public figures for sure, but they have personal things in life that we need to respect also. There is a chance he could be available for Sunday, but it’s not guaranteed.”
Which is a loss, because Rangers’ options in Cantwell’s position are utterly dreadful, with just Sam Lammers and, in theory, deputy Kieran Dowell as auxiliaries, but neither come close to being good enough and Dowell has been completely axed by this manager anyway.
So it’s a huge miss for Sunday, and Rangers will subsequently have to juggle the pack to make what players Clement has left work in his favoured formation.
That said, it’s entirely possible the boss might try a change in system – with potentially no natural playmaker, the manager may try a 4-4-2, but then we also completely lack wingers, with zero natural or in-form options out wide.
So that’s a non-starter really too.
Clement is up against it a bit – true, the Dons are no great shakes but we know they’ll give it 250% against Rangers, so our game has to be primo.
And we simply don’t have good options at all going into these next two matches.
But potentially losing Cantwell at the 10 slot means unless this boss is reverting back to the hopeless Sam Lammers in that position, it’s going to be improv time…
The attacking four options for Sunday appear to be the same as tonight – Sima, Lammers, Dessers, Matondo, Roofe and McAusland.
Bare-bones basics doesn’t cover Rangers’ poverty in this department right now.