Rangers will be facing a different Royal Antwerp side under the stewardship of a new manager when the clubs meet in February – but one player will be very familiar with our latest Euro rival.
The Belgian side have appointed ex-Anderlecht coach Franky Vercauteren as their new manager after Croatian boss Ivan Leko departed for Shanghai SIPG of the Chinese Superleague.
— Royal Antwerp FC (@official_rafc) January 4, 2021
Vercauteren, an Anderlecht legend who won an incredible five European trophies with the Belgian side in the 70s and 80s, is a big figure in Belgian football.
The former left-winger has 12 major trophies to his name – alongside a host of other cups no longer in operation – and made 63 caps for his country in a decorated playing career.
Not only that, but Vercauteren was working alongside Belgian legend Vincent Kompany as he took over at Anderlecht last summer.
As part of the Kompany revolution, the Belgian side splashed out a reported £7m to take now-Rangers striker Kemar Roofe to the continent last season [Goal.com].
For whatever reason things didn’t work out as planned for Roofe in Belgium and he moved to Ibrox on a reported £3.5m deal in the summer [Scottish Sun].
But Anderlecht’s loss has very much been Rangers’ gain as Roofe starts life brightly in Scotland, scoring 12 goals in 21 appearances so far for Steven Gerrard’s side.
Rangers will be able to get the inside track on Vercauteren’s methods off of the ex-Leeds United frontman but conversely, the Belgian boss will know all about the threat Roofe poses.
Vercauteren left his role with Anderlecht in the summer with Vincent Kompany hanging up his boots and taking on the manager’s job full time.
It wasn’t always rosy in Anderlecht either with beIN Sports describing the pair’s relationship as “fraught”.
Rangers’ clash with Antwerp promises to be a challenging affair, but should the Gers beat the Belgians just how far can they go in this year’s competition?