As part of a weekly piece, I’d like to reflect on players who should have been better for us – with everything that’s gone on in the past 5 years, and the barrels we’ve scraped in terms of players in the shirt, we may even find that some of these “failures” will be seen in a different light!
This week – the enigma that was Daniel Cousin…
I should start this article by saying that I was a huge fan of Cousin. In terms of ability, he was as good a forward as we’ve had since the days of Mols and Negri, or at least I believed so. I felt he had more talent than Dado Prso, but didn’t contribute anywhere near as much to Rangers in his short time here, and that’s why he makes the list.
Cousin was signed from RC Lens for £750k in 2007, scoring on his debut and following that up with a double on his first start. Pretty quickly, the fans were excited by the prospect of seeing him play on a regular basis, as he seemed to have the lot – pace, strength, a good touch, vision and an eye for goal. Unfortunately, he lacked at least one thing which pointed to why he cost so little and hadn’t had a better career, and that was consistency. Many will put that down to his attitude, and it’s easy to see why, but I was never sure exactly what it was. He was one of those forwards who could look unplayable one week, then absolutely disinterested the next, and when he had games like the latter he really was a passenger.
But when he played well…
Rangers fans will remember his performance away to Lyon in that 3-0 win, where he scored the second and set up Beasley for the third with a magical pass (just how did he even see that run?). They’ll remember the way he bullied Mertesacker and Naldo against Werder Bremen at Ibrox, so much so that they had to break his jaw to get him off the park. They’ll remember his last game for us, ripping Celtic to shreds with an outstanding performance in a 4-2 away win before being sent off for two bookable offences. He basically battered them.
But they’ll also remember his stupid red card in Florence, not long after coming off the bench, which led to us all wondering if his presence in the final may have changed the game. And that sort of summed up his time with Rangers, unreliable and volatile even when he was needed most. He won us a cup semi-final with the last penalty in a shoot-out and walked away as though he was affronted at having to be there. As fans, it’s difficult to understand that sort of player, the guy who just seems to show up whenever he can be bothered and doesn’t always want to give his all, but there’s also a chance we misread him.
You know how some women like to describe themselves as having Resting Bitch Face? Well, Cousin was one of those players who had Resting Lazy B*stard syndrome. The body language experts amongst the supporters would tell you he was clearly not interested when in truth he just looked that way all the time. A poor game would be put down to his attitude rather than just a bad day, which every player has. When you consider his career before Rangers, it’s obvious he had some sort of flaws, because his ability seemed far higher than his playing past. It would be interesting to hear from Hull fans with regards to their impression of Cousin, as he seemed to start well with them after leaving us to get his wanted move to the Premiership yet faded away. Did fans in France find him lazy, or was that a British interpretation?
We played 68 games in the season Cousin was signed, plus the ones he was available for before his deadline day move, yet he didn’t make much more than 40 appearances for us. Goals in the league, cup, Champions League and UEFA Cup were all contributions to what was one of our most memorable seasons (despite not winning the league), but for all his time here and all his ability, his career has one cup medal to show for it. I do believe most Rangers fans remember him fondly, and certainly many were happy with the prospect of re-signing him before that was killed by our administration in 2012. We’d be ecstatic to have a forward of that level of ability in our current squad, which sadly lacks that type of player, even with his inconsistency and potential attitude issues. We wouldn’t have dropped anywhere near as many points, and we’d certainly look forward to the bigger games more.
Daniel Cousin, had he stayed a bit longer and not got himself stupidly sent off in the UEFA Cup semi-final, could have had loads more special memories with Rangers. His ability deserved a better career, although it’s true that ability alone is never enough. Given the way he could just dominate games physically, he was something of a cult hero to many fans and that would have grown even more had he stayed when we were winning leagues. Due to his all-too-short time at Rangers and his inability to consistently show the level we all knew he was capable of, Daniel Cousin is another Rangers player who should have been better for us.
What Cousin memories do you have? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk and we’ll be happy to share them!