Big Phil and Rangers ready to call upon Ben Davies v Celtic

Big Phil and Rangers ready to call upon Ben Davies v Celtic
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 05: Ben Davies of Rangers celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Kilmarnock at Ibrox Stadium on May 05, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We touched on this earlier, but we’re going to expand a little on the qualities of Ben Davies, despite not being huge fans of him and aware he’s been basically told, as in all fairness he was last summer, that he’s surplus and to find a new club.

With his wages and fee that will be an issue, but for now, he’s actually come in as a very, very important player given the seeming injury and extended absence to Nigeria’s Leon Balogun, because Davies will replace he and Connor Goldson to partner Scotland’s John Souttar.

Most fans have reacted in fear, but in actuality, Ben Davies, albeit not the most physical of defenders, is actually a tonne better than many, Ibrox Noise included, have given him credit for, and is not a bad foil for Souttar at all.

If you want it by numbers, Davies ranks 17th in the SPL for accurate pass percentage – and that’s only in 5 SPL appearances total. He’s 18th for aerial duels won, number one at Ibrox overall for that. He’s 55th for ground duels won, all other Rangers defenders are stronger than him for that, but it’s not surprising because it’s not his forte, but 19th overall in the SPL for all duels won, Goldson and Souttar both ahead of him but Balogun behind.

For long balls, not too strong, just 45% accuracy and down in 97th place, so we won’t be relying on him for finding the passes at range on Saturday and the same applies for key passes, just a single one.

So what are Davies’ strengths?

He is tidy with the ball, doesn’t get dispossessed (happened just once all season) and he’s way down on losing the ball as well. In short, he’s reliable in possession and will find a neat pass to the midfield (or the defence) more often than not.

He isn’t strong on interceptions, just 4 in 5 appearances, and the same applies for tackling.

What is he?

He’s just a defensive midfielder, really, who will keep the ball in our half, not give it away, be able to find a constricted pass in tight space and do it quietly.

He’s a very ‘metronome’ kind of defender, he does it subtly, modestly, but reliably and keeps it ticking over around him in a very non-attention seeking way.

In many ways, the perfect foil for a brute-force defender like John Souttar who will do a lot more of the groundwork.

The further bonus is the symmetry of ball possession in defence with one a leftie and one a rightie.

Are we saying it’s our best defence?

Nope, it isn’t, but it’s also not our worst.

But it would be if Borna starts…

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