The left winger. I don’t think you could find a football fan anywhere who wouldn’t be able to name a legendary number 11 for their club. For Rangers, players like Davie Cooper and Jim Baxter (although in Baxter’s day he was a left half, as they called it) are remembered not for any inconsistency or frustration, but for their unbelievable performances when they were in the mood.
More recent players who played predominantly on the left have included McCann and Albertz. Again, both are fondly recalled as being great players. Very different styles, which dictated a lot of how we aimed to play, but they contributed loads in their time with us.
One of the side-effects of that is the demands on players who play on the left of midfield or on the wing. With such fond memories of great players, it’s rare that anyone is allowed to just be “ok” out there. Players like Adam and Fleck, who were good central midfielders played on the left due to being left-footed, were criticised quite heavily. Someone like Beasley, an intelligent player who done a power of work, wasn’t good enough as he didn’t try to take on his man too often in the eyes of many. Barrie McKay suffered from similar of late as well. There’s a weight of history and a misty-eyed view of the left winger that means just being good isn’t good enough.
There are various theories out there discussing why people who are left-handed have an advantage in sport. In football, left-footed players definitely have similar utility. Be it the brain structure, slightly enhanced reaction times, or just because defenders have spent years learning how to defend against a right-footed player, there’s something which seems to be of benefit to top class players who are predominantly left-footed. Think how often Robben or Messi go by players despite everyone knowing they’re going on to their left foot – that can’t be down to poor defending every time.
Said advantage makes it all the more frustrating for fans when they see the player on the left not having any influence on the game. With all of this in mind, I present the candidates for the Worst XI left midfield/winger role. There are only 3 players this week, and that’s purely because I don’t think anyone else would come close to them.
JEROME ROTHEN: 8 APPEARANCES
Jerome Rothen was signed from PSG in 2009. An experienced player with a decent reputation, he was expected to do well for us, especially in Champions League matches.
What we got was potentially the slowest footballer to ever play for Rangers, who looked disinterested and offered nothing. In his last appearance for us, a 4-1 defeat to Unirea in the Champions League, he was so poor it actually angered most fans. Sometimes you sign an experienced player and realise the legs are gone, so they become a useful option in the middle through reading the game. Rothen couldn’t even have offered that to us.
You can guess just how we all pronounced his surname…
HAMED NAMOUCHI: 51 APPEARANCES, 6 GOALS
We had a “What Should Have Been” article about Namouchi recently, so we won’t repeat too much of that. Suffice to say, he’s remembered as the player big Eck loved, the guy who only ever played in big matches on the left despite having none of the attributes required to play there.
He had good workrate, never went hiding and never lost a header, but that was it. After an initial promising spell, he got a bad injury, and came back from it a completely different player. One of those guys that fans just can’t understand how they got so many games.
BOJAN DJORDJIC: 5 APPEARANCES
Djordjic was signed on a free transfer in January 2005. Plenty of noise was made about his potential, mostly by the player himself, and he was thrown in pretty quickly to debut against Celtic in the Scottish Cup.
For a player who had came through the ranks at Man United and played for Sweden at U21 level, Djordjic was utterly average. He didn’t even show that level with us in his 5 games though. Whilst injuries played a part, and he didn’t play many games, he’s on this list for being far too fond of a microphone, and not coming close to living up to expectations. He crashed into a challenge on his debut, and that’s all he’s remembered for.
So who wins the honour of the left midfield/winger spot for the Worst XI? Vote below, or tweet us @rangersnewsuk with any other suggestions!