Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has named three key players he’ll make late decisions on prior to Saturday’s Premiership opener against Livingston [RangersTV].
Gerrard provided squad news during a press conference on Friday morning and there were several key takeaways from the club’s live Twitter updates.
The Gers boss had made it clear that neither Ryan Jack nor Alfredo Morelos would be available, with the former waiting on the all-clear from a specialist to return to action and the latter currently self-isolating.
He also stated that all members of the squad, bar Morelos, would be training on Friday, suggesting that Joe Aribo, Kemar Roofe and Brandon Barker – all of whom recently missed friendlies – were back available.
However, while the club’s initial tweet mentioned that Gerrard would be assessing a ‘couple’ of players before making a ‘late decision’ on their availability, those in question weren’t named.
🎙️ SG: We have a fully fit squad training today, the only absence is Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack. We have a couple players who we will make a late decision on but we are 99% fit, available and ready to go.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 30, 2021
Rangers have subsequently released the videoed presser in its entirety, though, so the identities of those players are now known.
“We’ve got two or three players we’re going to make late decisions on – whether they are ready for the squad right now or whether we have to be patient for a few more days,” said Gerrard [RangersTV].
“They’ve had slightly different programmes to the rest of the group because they arrived late but I’ll make a decision after training on them. The likes of Helander, Barisic and Kamara, we’ll make decisions on them.”
All three of the players named by the manager have had very limited pre-seasons following their involvement in Euro 2020.
They are all very important figures, too, but the strength of the current squad means that it won’t be disastrous if they can’t be involved in this one match.
If Helander doesn’t make the XI, Leon Balogun will likely play alongside Connor Goldson at centre-back, while Calvin Bassey would deputise for Barisic at left-back.
If Kamara isn’t deemed ready to slot into midfield, the manager has a number of options to choose from depending on how he wants to play, with Steven Davis, Scott Arfield, John Lundstram, Ianis Hagi and Joe Aribo all available.
Here’s our Predicted XI for the Premiership opener.