At the beginning of the 2018/19 season, Glenn Middleton broke into the Rangers first-team and looked the part.
Steven Gerrard showed a lot of faith in the then-teenager, deploying him in both the Premiership and the Europa League, and he was repaid with a handful of goals and assists.
However, in the run-up to Christmas, the youngster’s form started to dip and he slid down the pecking order.
He only made three substitute appearances over the second half of the campaign and the third of those, in a 3-1 league win at Hearts in April 2019, was the last time he represented the club in a competitive fixture.
Since then, Middleton has been back and forth on disappointing loan spells, first to Hibernian and then to EFL League Two side Bradford City.
As a new Scottish season approaches, though, the 20-year-old is back with Rangers and in France for pre-season, suggesting he’s at least in the peripheries of Gerrard’s plans.
Now, it’s time to give him another shot.
Ryan Kent, Brandon Barker and Jordan Jones got runouts against Lyon while Middleton and Jamie Murphy watched on from the bench and those two players should now get an opportunity against similarly high-calibre opposition in Patrick Vieira’s Nice.
Pre-season is the time for experimentation and if Middleton isn’t tested now, the coaching staff won’t know whether or not he can be relied upon if there’s a spate of injuries during the campaign.
Inconsistency has been the former Norwich City youth’s main issue to date, but he’s a talented winger with pace to burn and Rangers desperately lacked cutting edge following the winter break last season.
Gary McAllister has suggested that the quick turnaround between Trophee Veolia fixtures means there will be some changes for Saturday’s game [RangersTV]. So, whether it’s from the start or off the bench, it’s the perfect time to hand Middleton his first real chance in well over a year.