By Boxing Day, Glenn Middleton had racked up 24 first team appearances for Rangers under Steven Gerrard.

He played 85 minutes on that day against Hibernian, as the Gers were held to a 1-1 draw at Ibrox.

Middleton competes for the ball with Hibs’ Efe Ambrose. (photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

At just 19-years-old, obviously, he isn’t the finished product.

Yet, he was outstanding in patches over the first half of the season.

He possesses genuine pace out wide and demonstrated an eye for goal on more than one occasion.

For those reasons, I felt he would have had a significant role to play during the run in.

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Even if primarily from the bench.

However, that simply hasn’t materialised.

Since the winter break, Middleton has appeared just twice.

 

At the end of January, he was afforded just over 20 minutes from the bench against Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup.

Rangers made plenty of changes to face the minnows, but the winger still didn’t get a start. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Since then, there’s been just one other opportunity. Again, as a substitute. This time, against St Johnstone in the league.

During his time out of the side, he hasn’t sat by idly. Several impressive displays for the Reserves seem to have gone unheeded, though.

Of course, the fact that Ryan Kent has remained fit and reached top form, hasn’t helped his cause.

Kent has been superb in 2019. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Yet, having featured so much during the first half of the season, his current lack of game time is surprising.

It’s not the first time Gerrard has sidelined a player for a prolonged period, though.

Nikola Katic received similar treatment in the months before the winter break.

Perhaps the rationale is the same, here. Middleton is extremely young and still learning his game.

The manager must feel a step away from the limelight and the pressure of performing at Ibrox, will be beneficial for the youngster in the long run.