As quoted by the Daily Record, Steven Gerrard addressed the performance of Daniel Candeias following Sunday’s victory over Marseille.
The Portuguese netted twice in an impressive 4-0 pre-season win at Ibrox, with his second goal, in particular, an absolute beauty.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 14, 2019
It was an excellent reply from the £900k-valued winger [Transfermarkt] after he was left out of Rangers’ first Europa League squad.
He was replaced at half-time by Sheyi Ojo, but made the most telling contribution of any individual on the game.
“Daniel was outstanding for the 45 minutes he was on the pitch,” said Gerrard, as quoted by the Daily Record. “That’s not a surprise. I have been around Daniel for 12 months now. I wish I’d seen more of that on a consistent basis.”
“That’s probably the best 45 minutes I’ve seen from him. You have to take into account it was a pre-season friendly. Of course, you expect them to be professional and give you the right reaction. But it wasn’t a surprise. Daniel is a great professional, he is in first every morning. He is robust and always available.
“He had a decent season for me last year, he scored a handful of goals and provided a handful of assists.
“But I’m always trying to raise the bar. I’m looking for players in those positions to get double figures in terms of those numbers and that’s the challenge for all of them.”
This is an interesting mixture of praise and criticism from the manager.
Clearly, he wishes to give credit to Candeias for his starring role in this win. He also acknowledges that it wouldn’t have been easy to miss out on the Europa League squad, making this display better still.
Yet, it’s clear Gerrard believes there’s a lot of room for improvement with the 31-year-old.
It’s clear for all to see that Candeias gives his all, but what Gerrard is drawing attention to here is that the end product we’ve seen in pre-season isn’t always there. In 33 league appearances last season, he only scored five goals and registered five assists.
Those are relatively uninspiring numbers and the manager has made it clear that once the competitive fixtures kick in, he needs to see more from this senior squad member.