Jordan Jones was absent from Rangers’ extended squad for the Europa League group stages when it was confirmed on Thursday.
The omission will have been a bitter pill for Jones to swallow for the second year running, especially following his apparent breakout performance in the 5-1 win over Motherwell last month.
It’s now clear that Steven Gerrard feels Brandon Barker is a better wide option for him when it comes to European fixtures.
Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Northern Ireland international.
Sure, he will miss out on big European nights under the lights at Ibrox, the fixtures that every player wants to be involved in.
However, his lack of participation in the group stages could help ensure he continues to receive playing opportunities in domestic football.
Jones has started the Gers’ last two Premiership fixtures, each of which has fallen after a Europa League qualifier.
The likes of Ianis Hagi and Barker will be competing for starting spots in the group stages, but when the squad returns weary from tough away trips, Jones will provide the manager with an option to freshen up his XI.
The 25-year-old’s end product isn’t always there, but he offers the kind of pace and energy that Hagi lacks.
As seen at Fir Park, he’s able to exploit spaces in behind and so he’s particularly effective in away fixtures where the opposition don’t sit quite as deep as they would in Govan.
Jones will be sore after his European omission. Yet, despite all the transfer rumours, he looks to be at Ibrox for the foreseeable future and he should still get numerous opportunities to make his mark on the 2020/21 season.