Competition for places in Steven Gerrard’s Rangers is as high as it’s ever been. Here, we look at three Gers stars whose places aren’t as guaranteed as they think they are.
Rangers have been in fine form throughout the start of the season. Whilst the manager will be keen to stress that it’s a team effort, there are certainly some stand-outs. The likes of Alfredo Morelos and Allan McGregor have their places in the side sealed. Such is the quality of their early-season performances, nobody can touch them.
There are others, however, who have impressed early on yet are still always in danger of being dropped. Whether it’s down to squad competition or just a little inconsistency, not everyone in the impressive Gerrard outfit is guaranteed of a start.
Here are the three we think always remain under pressure to perform:
Bear with us on this one. Connor Goldson has been absolutely sensational since coming through the Ibrox gates. His performances have been consistently solid, barring one or two errors, and he’s been a revelation.
Added to that, the Gers centre-back has had to deal with being partnered by different partners in Nikola Katic and Joe Worrall. Throughout that period, Goldson has remained composed and as solid as ever.
Yet, why is his place never secured despite being so positive? Simply because he has far too much competition to be guaranteed his spot. One or two poor displays and Goldson could very easily be dropped for Katic or even Gareth McAuley. Such is the quality of centre-half at the club these days that Gerrard has real options.
So far, the former Brighton defender Goldson hasn’t put a foot wrong. He’s dominated opposition forwards and been such an imposing figure. The second that kind of form drops? He could always find himself out of the team given the options available.
Another early fan-favourite, there’s so much to like about Lassana Coulibaly’s game.
He has a real engine that can get him from box-to-box, and has shown a level of speed that not many of us expected from him. Despite being known as a ball-winner and aggressive midfielder, he has such a dangerous attacking threat. It’s fair to say that his performances have surprised us all.
There was a very short spell after his return from injury where he didn’t look like himself. Whether that was the last of his niggles playing a part on him, we’ll never know. Regardless, Coulibaly remains a real handful and right now is the number one choice to play that anchoring role.
His place in the side, however, will never truly be guaranteed despite his positive displays. Ryan Jack, Graham Dorrans, and Andy Halliday are consistently breathing down his neck for a shot in his role. Competition in Coulibaly’s position is higher than any in the squad at the moment. You could even throw in Ross McCrorie as a player looking to excel where Coulibaly is thriving.
Hopefully for Rangers Coulibaly can continue to be a consistent performer. Like Goldson, however, if he starts to go off-form there’s too much quality waiting in the wings.
Out of the three players mentioned here, Borna Barisic should be the most concerned.
The Rangers left-back has been out with a confirmed knock in recent weeks. This seems to have been picked up against Livingston a couple of weeks ago, and has been a big blow to him personally.
Despite thriving in his early Ibrox performances, his place is now under strong threat due to the displays of Jon Flanagan.
The former Liverpool wing-back has had to sit on the bench for the most part during his early weeks in Glasgow. Now, however, he seems to be thriving in his chance with the first-team. Crunching into challenges and showing full-blooded commitment combined with a presence and composure going forward – Flanagan is looking like the real deal.
As it stands, Barisic has had to withdraw from international duty with an injury. That alone is a big blow for him given how competitive the Croatian squad is. On a side-note, hopefully he can fight his way back into the side.
The longer that injury goes on, the more opportunities Flanagan has to cement his place. At the very least, Barisic has a big fight on his hands to keep his spot in the side despite his strong Rangers start. His place can now be considered as constantly under pressure.