Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Dundee United, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has landed another dig at the five players who recently breached Covid regulations, asserting that he is moving forward with “the players who have remained professional and want to be part of a successful team” [Scotsman].
Calvin Bassey, Nathan Patterson, Bongani Zungu, Dapo Mebude and Brian Kinnear are all currently isolating and their Ibrox futures are hanging in the balance, with SFA bans a possibility.
The unavailability of both Bassey and Patterson has left the manager short on cover at full-back, with a rare injury to James Tavernier forcing Leon Balogun to fill in on the right for most of Thursday night’s Europa League Round of 32 first-leg tie in Antwerp.
However, the Gers came through that test and Gerrard has made his thoughts very clear on the matter ahead of a Premiership clash with Dundee United.
“That (coronavirus breach) will all take care of itself and we move forward with the players who have remained professional and want to be part of a successful team moving forward,” he said [Scotsman].
“We spoke as a group and I explained the situation to them. We put it behind us. We are at such an important time with the fixtures coming up that we can’t be worrying about that situation and letting any of our focus slide.”
After the identities of the players involved were revealed last week, many supporters suggested that Zungu’s Rangers career was effectively over.
The South Africa international is currently only on loan from Amiens and when asked if the breach had affected his chances of earning a permanent deal at the club, Gerrard added: “I think that would be fair to say, yes.”
These latest comments are yet more evidence that for the short-term at least, the players involved in the breach will be nowhere near the first-team squad.
That’s particularly bad news for Zungu, while Mebude – who is currently on loan at Queen of the South – and Academy keeper Kinnear’s deals may also be up in a matter of months.
Patterson and Bassey have more security in terms of their contracts but Jordan Jones and George Edmundson both also have long-term deals and were shipped out on loan during the winter window after their own misdemeanours.
Rangers take on Dundee United at Ibrox on Sunday. Check out our Predicted XI here and our Preview Video over on the Rangers News YouTube Channel.