Life without Tik Tok Todd – how Rangers must adapt

Life without Tik Tok Todd – how Rangers must adapt
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 03: Todd Cantwell of Rangers attempts to control the ball during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and St. Mirren FC at Ibrox Stadium on December 03, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With Todd Cantwell now out for the foreseeable future, Ibrox Noise wanted to look at how Rangers configure a new lineup, especially given Cantwell has been more or less ever present under Philippe Clement.

The ex-Norwich man had initially been wasted as a wide right winger, but when Clement finally relented and put him centrally again, after an initial slight improvement it did dip back down.

Only for the arrival of Mohamed Diomande to see a massive upturn again the past four weeks… and that to then get derailed by this injury.

So what does Big Phil do with this?

Cantwell was the quintessential 10 – can dribble, assist, creative, pick passes, score – in short he was kind of the archetypal player for that slot.

So who replaces him?

We suspect Diomande will go into the 10 slot, because that’s a major position he can play – the only other option is Tom Lawrence and he’s not reliable for fitness.

It’s surreal and cruel how one injury turns a position from replete with options and quality into ‘thin’ and lacking depth.

But what of midfield without Dio?

We feel Nico Raskin has been painfully poor since last summer – unlike Cantwell he’s not responded to competition, and has looked weak, slow, and lacking any interest.

So we wouldn’t have him in midfield, we’d have Sterling and Lundstram. By a mile. We don’t even consider Kieran Dowell, fit or not.

Which means Diomande is in that 10 slot, with Cortes and McCausland taking up the flanks, with Wright and possibly a fit-again Matondo on the bench. We’d rather put Matondo and Cortes together but we don’t think Clement favours that.

So for us, for now, it would be midfield of Sterling and Lunny, wingers of Matondo and Cortes, with Diomande central and Dessers up front.

There are options, there are combinations, and there’s depth on the bench.

Whatever Clement does here, it faces a stiff test v Steven Naismith’s on-fire Hearts.

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