Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has hinted at an increased role for Cedric Itten during the upcoming season after his impressive cameo against Arsenal [RangersTV].
Itten came on in the 62nd minute at Ibrox on Saturday and scored a header from a Glenn Middleton corner just 13 minutes later.
It was a good finish from the powerful Switzerland international, who has scored two of the Gers’ three goals so far in pre-season, after netting the winner in the opening fixture against Partick Thistle at Firhill.
It’s an encouraging start for a player who may have been a little frustrated by how his first campaign at the club played out.
He made 38 appearances for the Gers last season but the vast majority of his outings came from the bench, with his total playing time just 1148 minutes.
Gerrard has praised the striker’s attitude and work ethic, though, and has hinted there could be a bigger role for him during the upcoming campaign.
“He came last year during the lockdown, he hasn’t been able to go out of his apartment, he hasn’t been able to have family here – it was a real tough year for Cedric and I thought he came on and was a real good option for us from the bench,” said the Gers manager [RangersTV].
“When I asked him to start (last season) he never let me down and he has come back in pre-season smiling, full of energy and ready to prove his point and stake a claim.
“He’s certainly doing himself no harm at the moment.”
Itten didn’t always sparkle last season, but he did show promise at times, with a strong display at Lech Poznan in the Europa League and a brilliant late strike in a Premiership fixture at Motherwell particular highlights.
With Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe and at times Jermain Defoe all ahead of him in the pecking order, though, it’s tough to blame him for struggling for rhythm.
The absence of Morelos and late arrival of Fashion Sakala have given Itten more of a chance to shine during pre-season and further success in the remaining fixtures would make him hard to overlook when the competitive action begins.
There are some concerns around another Gers striker and Gerrard has provided an update on his condition.