Steven Gerrard has addressed Rangers’ penalty situation ahead of the Europa League Round of 32 second-leg clash against Royal Antwerp, following a double setback [Daily Record].
In a blow to the Gers’ plans, it has been confirmed that regular taker James Tavernier is set to miss two to three weeks of action with a knee injury sustained in the first leg [Glasgow Live].
In his absence, Borna Barisic converted twice from 12 yards at the Bosuilstadion but then saw a penalty saved against Dundee United on Sunday afternoon, leading to uncertainty as to whether or not he will continue on spot-kick duties.
It seems the Gers manager has no intention of removing the Croatia international after a solitary slip-up, though.
“I am sure he will put his hand up,” said Gerrard of Barisic [Daily Record]. “It shows that he is human missing the penalty.”
“Jermain Defoe was trying to put his name on it and didn’t really have much time. I am sure he will put his hand up. If not, there will be a queue because everyone wants to take penalties and it is a great opportunity to score.
“I will be disappointed if he doesn’t put his hand up, that is for sure.”
Barisic has gone to the same side with all three of his penalties so far, two of which have been at very saveable heights.
His second effort in the first leg was right out of the top drawer, though, and he certainly has the quality to perform in the role in Tavernier’s absence.
Alfredo Morelos, Scott Arfield and Ianis Hagi all tried and failed from the spot last season, so while the manager insists that there are plenty of other players willing to step up, few members of the squad outside of Tavernier have a positive record.
Jermain Defoe was one alternative candidate named by the manager but he won’t feature in Thursday night’s second leg and will instead be taking part in an ‘innovative’ virtual event organised by the club.