Comments made by Steven Gerrard to RangersTV following Wednesday night’s win over St Mirren at Ibrox, suggest that a much-maligned figure may be retained in the Rangers starting XI against Hearts on Sunday.
Filling in at right-back in the absence of injured skipper James Tavernier, the 27-year-old looked largely comfortable defensively, but distinctly uncomfortable in attack.
Advances often lose momentum when he’s in possession, while his crossing from the flank was poor.
However, the manager namechecked Flanagan as he expressed his delight at the efforts of his defenders after the game.
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“It’s another clean sheet”, Gerrard told Rangers TV.
“I thought Connor and Niko were excellent. I thought Jon was steady and Borna kept asking questions from the left, so in terms of a back five I’m delighted.”
It would seem highly unlikely that after claiming he was ‘delighted’ with the defensive unit, he would make changes for the trip to Tynecastle.
Flanagan’s inclusion last night was likely in an effort to get him game time, specifically because the Gers are theoretically set for a more of an examination in the capital.
Despite the scouser’s experience, many fans would rather their manager plucked for Nathan Patterson. However, no matter how exciting a prospect the teenager is, especially after these comments, Gerrard is set to play it safe with the ‘steady’ option.
It’s worth factoring in that last night was just Flanagan’s second start since November, and that he was never going to be in top form.
However, the contrast between himself and Tavernier is stark and his inclusion does inherently limit the side in an attacking sense.
Let’s hope that when it comes to the weekend, Rangers’ apparent post-winter break rustiness is gone and those in traditional attacking positions make up for deficiencies in wide areas.