Gerrard gives big showing of faith in misfiring player with Euro squad call
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Gerrard shows faith in misfiring Rangers winger with Europa League call

Steven Gerrard has placed faith in Brandon Barker, by retaining him in the Rangers squad for the Europa League knockout stages [UEFA.com].

The Gers boss had some big calls to make when tinkering with his roster, especially given this was the last chance to make changes in this season’s campaign.

Jon Flanagan was omitted, perhaps signalling the end of his opportunities at the club, while Filip Helander dropped out due to injury.

Flanagan has struggled with injuries and form this season and now looks to be out of the picture. (Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

Andy King’s return to Leicester City freed up another spot, with Ianis Hagi, Florian Kamberi and Matt Polster coming in [UEFA.com].

There were other players who will be disappointed to miss out though, and some fans are likely surprised that Barker was deemed to have done enough to be retained.

He was preferred over both fit-again Jordan Jones as well as Jake Hastie, who recently returned from a loan spell at Rotherham United.

It’s a big showing of confidence from in 23-year-old Barker, who has been criticised by Gers supporters.

Barker was selected by Steven Gerrard for both Europa League group stage fixtures against Porto. (Photo by Diogo Baptista/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Much of the dissatisfaction has been at his failure to produce in the final third. He scored on his Premiership debut against Livingston, but that’s his solitary contribution to date, with no further strikes and no assists in 11 appearances.

When Rangers have needed a spark, like in the League Cup final against Celtic, he’s not been able to beat players or take the ball on at pace.

Jones displayed an ability to do that throughout the Europa League qualifiers registering several important assists, while Hastie’s prowess in and around the area prompted the Gers to snap him up last season.

Now that the decision has been made, Bears will want to see it justified should the ex-Manchester City man be involved in either leg against Braga.

If there’s simply more of the same, questions will certainly be asked about the call.

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