It looks as though Jon Flanagan may have run out of chances at Rangers after the full-back was left out of the playing squad for Wednesday night’s Premiership clash with Ross County.
The full-back arrived on a free transfer in the summer of 2018, with his former Liverpool teammate, Steven Gerrard, showing faith in him despite the scouser having a poor injury history.
Mainly deployed at left-back during his first season at Ibrox, he was largely solid defensively but struggled to contribute in attack.
He exasperated many Bears right up until the final stages of the campaign when he delivered some positive performances in the post-split period.
Capitalising on the poor form of Borna Barisic, he got a run in the side, with his tough tackling helping to keep multiple clean sheets, while he finally looked to be taking the shackles off in attack.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to kick on this season.
Hernia operations sidelined the 27-year-old during pre-season and for a lengthy period following the September Old Firm, and he’s struggled ever since.
A transformation in Barisic’s form has meant opportunities have been few and far between at left-back. When Flanagan got a go there against Aberdeen in December, though, he blew it, with a defensive error costing a goal and arguably two points.
When skipper James Tavernier picked up an appendix problem upon his return from Dubai, it looked an ideal chance for redemption. Gerrard claimed Flanagan had trained extremely well over the winter break and was raring to go in his quest to earn a new deal [Glasgow Times].
Included in the starting XIs against St Mirren and Hearts, he had chances to show what he can do.
On each occasion, though, he didn’t perform. Against the Buddies, he was criticised by supporters for his lack of contributions in attack.
At Hearts, the same flaws were apparent, while he also struggled defensively, with the yellow card he picked up in the 28th minute prompting him to be hooked at half-time.
When his replacement, Matt Polster, caught the eye, he must have realised that he was in trouble.
Then, when the matchday squad was announced for the clash against Ross County, his fall down the pecking order was confirmed. Polster started (impressing once again) and 18-year-old Nathan Patterson was named ahead of him on the bench.
When Tavernier returns from injury in a few weeks, Flanagan looks set to be Gerrard’s fourth choice in his favoured position of right-back.
Therefore, if Barisic stays fit and continues to thrive on the left, it’s tough to see the ex-Liverpool man getting any playing time in the near future.
It seems that after 39 appearances and just a solitary assist [Transfermarkt], the manager has finally run out of patience.
With his contract set to expire in the summer, the end looks nigh for Flanagan at Ibrox.