The surprise exclusion of Rangers first-teamer Jon McLaughlin from the Ibrox side’s Europa League squad can be explained by the stopper’s homegrown status.
Rangers announced their Europa League squad this week with the absences of Ridvan Yilmaz and Kieran Dowell making the most headlines.
With summer signing and centre-back Leon Balogun also excluded, Michael Beale has brought seemingly perennially-injured Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe back into the fold.
Rangers have only submitted 22 players for this season’s competition, with the imbalance in the squad pointed out by supporters who’re already nervous about the European campaign.
According to UEFA, Rangers have submitted three goalkeepers, six defenders, four midfielders and nine attackers in this season’s squad.
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Jon McLaughlin a Rangers victim to Europa League homegrown rule
Clubs must include eight homegrown players – that is players trained in the country of each subsequent club for three years before their 21st birthday – in every squad.
This season, Rangers can include Ryan Jack and Scott Wright (who were both trained at Aberdeen) and John Souttar (Dundee United).
Four of these players are expected to be trained at each individual club, with only Robby McCrorie and Kieran Wright currently satisfying that condition in the current Rangers squad.
With both of these players goalkeepers, that goes some way to explain the surprise exclusion of Jon McLaughlin who will not be a part of Rangers’ Europa League squad this season.
With English-born McLaughlin trained south of the border in the country’s lower leagues, the Scotland international does not qualify as a homegrown player.
This means that had Rangers submitted the stopper, Jon McLaughlin would’ve taken a Europa League space off someone else in the current group.
Given the club’s lack of homegrown balance, this would’ve meant yet another outfield player missing out and with Jack Butland, Robby McCrorie and Kieran Wright all available, Jon McLaughlin was always missing out himself.