The dilemma Gerrard has when his squad returns from international duty
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Who should Coulibaly replace when he returns?

With his recovery imminent, Who should Lassana Coulibaly replace when he returns from injury?

The on-loan Angers man is perhaps Steven Gerrard’s best signing of the summer so far. Granted, Nikola Katic, Allan McGregor, and Connor Goldson could have something to say about that.

Nobody can deny the impact the Mali midfielder has made regardless. Yet, unfortunately, the loan star has been struggling with a nasty thigh injury in recent times. This has led to confusion about when Coulibaly is set to return to the squad.

It appears the international break should see him recover, however. The question that must now be on Gerrard’s mind is who does he drop for his returning star?

Not the same side

Firstly, he simply does have to return. Rangers haven’t been the same team without his tenacity in the midfield. His return to the fold will be a big plus for the side.

Since then, Ovie Ejaria, Ryan Jack, and Scott Arfield have been holding the fort well. Even if the stats say otherwise, the midfield have been solid and competent enough in Coulibaly’s absence.

But the Malian midfielder is one of just two central midfielders to have scored this season. Ejaria is the other.

Lassana Coulibaly has struggled so far with injuries (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ejaria is the highest scoring central midfielder so far this season with two goals. He’s increasing his dynamism in the midfield week-on-week, and is starting to look like a serious player. There’s plenty of improvement left in him, but supporters should be confident about the quality Ejaria has.

Going forward, it appears as though the on-loan Liverpool man is starting to look like one of the club’s biggest influences. It remains to be seen if he can continue that improvement, but fans are enjoying what they’re seeing of him after a slow start.

Ryan Jack is another just returning from injury and looking confident. He was one of the better performers at Celtic Park, and didn’t deserve to come off on the losing side.

The Scotland midfielder also made just his second appearance for the national side against Belgium on Friday night. His confidence should be soaring as he continues a positive campaign so far. Dropping him for Coulibaly would be the wrong move, particularly considering Rangers’ most convincing displays have come from when both were playing.

Unimpressive Arfield

Scott Arfield has yet to impress to any great length (Getty Images)

Scott Arfield, on the other hand, hasn’t been up to much. The former Burnley man arrived at Ibrox this summer with much promise, but has delivered little.

The midfielder is yet to score a goal despite being one of the club’s more attacking influences. His performances have been perhaps the least impressive of any of the central midfielders.

Dropping him for Coulibaly perhaps wouldn’t be the worst move. In previous times, it’s been Ejaria who’s been benched for the Malian in the past.

It’s time that changed and the in-form players were allowed to stay in the side. Ejaria and Jack have to retain their places given how positive a start to the season they’ve had.

Arfield, on the other hand, should be the one benched for the returning Coulibaly.

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