One of the key questions on the minds of Rangers fans yesterday will have been the following: “Where was Ovie Ejaria against Dundee?”
The on-loan Liverpool midfielder has been one of the revelations of the season since joining in the summer. Ejaria already has two goals to his name from the midfield, and is the joint-highest goalscorer centrally alongside Lassana Coulibaly.
Yet, despite his impressive start to life at Ibrox, Ejaria missed the visit of Dundee on Saturday. The omission was news to Rangers supporters, who didn’t expect anything to be wrong with their star-man.
Manager Steven Gerrard has since stepped up to clear the confusion surrounding his dropping from the squad. Speaking to the Evening Times, Gerrard said the following:
“It’s a small niggle he got yesterday in training, he felt a bit of hip flexing. It’s days, he should be available for Thursday, worst case for the weekend.”
To say the least, that’s a big relief for Rangers’ creative element. Ejaria has really grown into the role of being the main creative spark in the engine room, and is developing on a weekly basis under Gerrard.
It’ll be interesting to see what more we’ll see of Ejaria as the season progresses. It’s clear the manager likes him, and for good reason as without his spark, the Gers would struggle.
Seeing him in the midfield with Lassana Coulibaly these days would be interesting, and Gerrard’s starting XI on Thursday night will be one to watch. Whilst both Ejaria and Coulibaly are consistent performers, the manager now has real options in the midfield.
Scott Arfield has been a constant in the Rangers team this season. With Ryan Jack struggling to make Thursday night with a knock, however, the door could open once more for Ejaria.
Andy Halliday is another alternative having put in a good performance against Dundee. But Villarreal is a different proposition altogether, and Rangers need their best performers on the park.
The team won’t necessarily pick itself, and Gerrard will have one or two decisions to make – the midfield being the prime one.
But in the meantime, fans can just be satisfied that Ejaria’s injury is only short-term.