Is Steven Gerrard’s competitive squad as packed with quality as it has been for years?
These days, Rangers are starting to look like a breath of fresh air. Europa League qualification has been bagged, whilst the club go from strength to strength off the field.
Gerrard has brought huge exposure to the club with regards to social media hits and TV figures. Players who never would’ve given Rangers a second thought are now queuing up to come on board.
Yet, one of the best things Gerrard has done since coming to the club is create huge competition around the squad. It makes you bode the question is the squad now as competitive a group as we’ve seen since the Walter Smith days?
Let’s start in goal.
Allan McGregor has been a revelation. The former Hull City and Dunfermline Athletic goalkeeper is in his second spell at the club. Yet, he doesn’t look as though he’s been away. The Scottish international is the first-choice goalkeeper and for good reason.
Yet, Wes Foderingham is also there as back-up. Certainly, there’s a large element of support who don’t like Foderingham as number one, but he isn’t. Regardless of your feelings towards the Englishman, he’s a top quality goalkeeper to have as back-up. It’s difficult to remember the last time Rangers have been so strong in that area.
At the back, Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic impress on a weekly-basis. Their defensive attributes have instantly made Rangers a more solid force.
If anything happens to the pair of them, the likes of Gareth McAuley and Joe Worrall are available to come in and do a job. To repeat, that’s a veteran international star and the captain of England’s Under-21 side.
Jon Flanagan, James Tavernier, Borna Barisic, and Lee Wallace are all available for the wing-back positions. Wallace’s future at the club is in doubt, but at the moment Rangers are stacked in that area.
The midfield is probably the biggest source of quantity. Yet, it’s quality Rangers also have in that area that’s impressing supporters.
Lassana Coulibaly continues to recover from a knock, but he’s been a huge boost to Rangers so far. Ovie Ejaria, Ryan Jack, Graham Dorrans, Ross McCrorie, Andy Halliday, and Scott Arfield are all also available to accommodate the central roles. It’s a stacked midfield, and certainly in that area it’s the most competitive it’s been for years.
You can point to the flanks and ask where the competition is, particularly down the left. Ryan Kent appears to be having to do much of it on his own these days with Jamie Murphy sidelined.
Then again, Glenn Middleton, a favoured left-winger, is also on standby for the occasions he needs a hand.
Down the right, meanwhile, Eros Grezda and Daniel Candeias look set to slog it out.
You don’t need me to over the forward options, but it’s worth doing.
Alfredo Morelos is fresh off an international debut for Colombia and some rave reviews from a heroic team-mate. He also has Northern Ireland’s number one forward, Kyle Lafferty, also there as competition (or a partner).
The unknown Umar Sadiq is available as back-up, whilst Zak Rudden scored in pre-season and could see some first-team action this season.
Overall, you can’t say Rangers aren’t competitive. They have multiple players for every position, and Gerrard has managed his squad accordingly over the summer.
It’s a managerial move that will often go unnoticed, but with two or more players vying for each position, Rangers are as competitive as they were under Smith.