Neil McCann has tipped Ryan Kent to soon ‘explode’ into life as a start beckons for the misfiring Rangers star against Aberdeen [Scottish Sun].
Kent started the 2020/21 season brilliantly, with three goals and a pair of assists in August helping him to the Premiership Player of the Month award.
He continued to produce in September, but since then, he’s struggled in the final third.
Kent hasn’t scored a goal or notched an assist for four Premiership matches, while he’s only netted once in his last 22 in all competitions.
His pace continues to stretch opposing defences and his work rate remains high, though, so Steven Gerrard has been sticking with his man.
The former Liverpool Academy star has started all but one of Rangers’ 22 Premiership matches to date, indicating that he’s almost certain to get the nod again at Pittodrie on Sunday, and McCann believes a special individual performance is just around the corner.
“Ryan will explode soon because he’s been too quiet for the last few games,” he said [Scottish Sun]. “He will come to the fore again very soon.”
“You can see an element of frustration in his game at the moment. He wants to affect the game more than he’s doing. He wants to get his numbers up, whether that’s goals or assists.
“His all-round game is so valuable to Rangers that he almost always plays. He is so important to the way the team functions.”
The absence of Kemar Roofe in the short-term through injury increases the pressure on Kent to produce, but he’s returning to a ground that holds fond memories for him.
The 24-year-old scored the winner at Pittodrie on the opening day, a hugely important goal that set the tone for an outstanding first half of the season.
His performances have frustrated supporters at times recently and it’s clear that his confidence levels aren’t where they were back in August.
However, as McCann says, he has too much quality to stay a rut indefinitely, and given that he tends to thrive in big matches, Sunday could be the day he turns things around.
In addition to Roofe, midfielders Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack will miss the game, but a handy Ibrox transfer clause also ensures that Aberdeen will be understrength.