Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield has stepped up for Steven Gerrard and is softening the blow of continued injury woes with a string of excellent displays.
Arfield has now made 106 appearances for the Gers since joining from Burnley in 2018 but at the start of the season, he wasn’t in the manager’s strongest XI.
He looked to be behind Ryan Jack, Steven Davis and Glen Kamara in the pecking order for the deeper-lying midfield roles, while the likes of Joe Aribo, Ianis Hagi and Ryan Kent were the first picks for the slots behind the central striker.
Rangers fans have been clamouring for further strengthening all summer, too, and with Arfield’s game time already limited, he looked in danger of becoming a peripheral figure.
However, the club have failed to deliver a new box-to-box midfielder and injuries to both Aribo and Jack provided the 31-year-old with a route back into the team.
He scored off the bench in the 4-0 win over Dundee United at Ibrox earlier this month and has since played the full 90 minutes in each of Rangers’ last four fixtures.
The high-energy operator helped keep the ball moving at pace in two commanding Europa League qualifying performances from the Gers, but his best individual outings have come in the Premiership.
Arfield missed a great chance to win the match with 10 minutes remaining at Easter Road last weekend but he scored earlier in the game and was one of the standout performers on a difficult afternoon in the capital.
He was then hugely influential in Rangers’ 5-1 mauling of Motherwell on Sunday.
The Canada international was often at the heart of the free-flowing attacking play of the first half and his assist for Jordan Jones’ goal was sublime.
📈 @scottyarf's Sunday
👉 93% Pass Accuracy – Best in the Match
👉 3 key passes – Passes leading to a shot on goal pic.twitter.com/e3xzIN3LmX
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) September 27, 2020
Steven Gerrard could have faced heavy criticism after letting the likes of Ross McCrorie and Greg Docherty leave the club and failing to bring in new faces prior to a mini injury crisis in midfield.
Yet, Scott Arfield has stepped up to the plate for his manager, helping the Gers to stay in Europe and to continue their strong start to the Premiership season.