Rangers’ starting XI each week is likely to have certain changes made to it by Steven Gerrard.
Such is the nature of a big squad, rotation is key to success for any side. With such a heated title-challenge on the cards, Rangers have to be at their sharpest on a weekly-basis to make the most of this big opportunity.
But there are still several Gers players who won’t be dropped anytime soon. Three in particular have their places in the side nailed down regardless of who’s waiting in the wings to take advantage of slip-ups.
We spoke in the past about three Rangers stars whose places aren’t as safe as they may think. Here, we list three whose places are.
The incredible Allan McGregor has been a revelation this season. Joining for nothing in the summer, this could prove to be Gerrard’s best bit of business as manager.
Rangers have had to deal with Wes Foderingham in goal over the last several years. It’s fair to say that, whilst Foderingham tried his best, he was also a liability. McGregor takes away any fears supporters may have had from their goalkeeper, and plays with such a confidence.
It now also looks as though the Rangers number one is now Scotland’s number one. The highly-experienced McGregor has overtaken Celtic’s Craig Gordon, even if unofficially, between the sticks for big games at international level.
McGregor is one of the few players in the team who can make some mistakes and stay in the next week. He could be spared some poor distribution, unconvincing shot-stopping, or even the odd howler. It wouldn’t matter too much with regards to his starting place, because nobody can touch him for quality.
A key asset to Gerrard’s side and will continue to be a huge plus-point as the season goes on.
The new Rangers captain is certainly settling into his role well as a leader of men.
Since being given the honor by his manager, Tavernier has been using it to dictate what goes on around him. Anyone at the games or watching on TV can see the constant pointing and shouting that the captain unleashes on his team-mates.
When it comes to his own quality, it’s simply undeniable. Yes, he’s had some issues with his defending in the past, but his overall displays this season have been massive. He takes responsibility and stands up to every challenge put in front of him. The penalties he’s scored this season and the importance of them show how confident and mature a player he’s become.
He’s always been a confident player, and had faith in his own abilities. This season, however, and after signing a new contract, Tavernier is turning himself into a real senior figure at Ibrox.
There are occasions when the Englishman needs to be rested. This has been the case for one or two games this season. But when he’s fit and ready to go, nobody in the Rangers squad will ever take his place.
We know eyebrows will be raised on this one. After all, Kyle Lafferty is waiting in the wings and can easily be picked ahead of Alfredo Morelos for crucial games, right?
Well, so far that hasn’t been the case.
Morelos is red-hot and scoring goals in the big games. In every big match so far this season, Gerrard has went with the Colombian over the Northern Irishman. On a weekly-basis, it’s Morelos you see starting in the side with Lafferty on the bench.
When Gerrard feels the need to play Lafferty, however, he just switches to a two up top. As it stands, Morelos is nowhere near losing his place in the squad and is pretty much guaranteed a start every week.
It’s going to be a long road to toppling his strike partner for Lafferty. The former Helsinki man is Rangers’ top goalscorer, and is the Ibrox side’s best chance of a goal in every game he plays.
Gerrard loves him, and won’t drop him in any league game anytime soon. If the goals dry up consistently then the question can be raised. Until then, however, Morelos has his place in the team thoroughly secured in our view.