When Jon Flanagan joined Rangers during the summer of 2018, there was plenty of optimism around the signing.

After all, before a series of injury problems, Flanagan had held down a spot in the Liverpool first team and even earned a senior England cap in 2014.

Flanagan turning out for England against Ecuador. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

He had a strong relationship with Steven Gerrard, forged whilst the two were teammates at Anfield and he arrived on a free transfer, meaning that financially, it was a low-risk move.

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Ultimately, though, his time at the club has been disappointing.

The 27-year-old turned out 39 times in all competitions across two seasons, with the majority of his appearances coming at left-back.

There were times when he looked to be getting into his stride. During the final weeks of the 2018/19 season, he got a run of games and impressed with his uncompromising tackling, as he helped his team to several successive clean sheets including a shutout in an Old Firm win.

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For some, his relative successes over that period meant that heading into the 2019/20 season, he was the first-choice left-back ahead of Andy Halliday and a Borna Barisic, who at that point, hadn’t quite shown the extent of his abilities.

Flanagan flies into a tackle during a strong showing against Motherwell. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The positive spells were all too brief, though.

 

In general, Rangers fans watched a player who looks like he has lost a yard as a result of his injuries, who is technically limited and was often short on confidence.

In contrast to the likes of James Tavernier and Barisic, Flanagan proved unable to provide an attacking threat. The Gers’ style of play requires forward-thinking full-backs, yet, whether deployed on the left or the right, he was rarely able to produce incisive runs or teasing crosses.

Any momentum carried over from the previous campaign was certainly halted by his need to undergo two hernia operations during the second half of 2019 and when he was thrown back in to deputise for Barisic at Aberdeen in December, an individual error gave the hosts a route back into the game.

Flanagan disappointed at Rangers.

Flanagan disappointed at Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Gerrard showed patience with Flanagan across his stay at the club and his performances didn’t lack effort, but a poor first-half display against Hearts at Tynecastle in January signalled the beginning of the end.

He was hooked at half-time and soon effectively became fourth-choice right-back behind Tavernier, Matt Polster and Nathan Patterson.

It was therefore little surprise when the club announced on Tuesday that they had opted against offering him a contract extension [Rangers.co.uk].

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