Earlier this week, in an interview with RangersTV, Steven Gerrard suggested his streamlining of the Rangers first team squad was not yet complete.
The manager has already hinted that multiple first-teamers have no future at Ibrox. The likes of Jordan Rossiter, Graham Dorrans, Kyle Lafferty, Jason Holt, and Ryan Hardie all missed out on the pre-season trip to Portugal.
Yet, it seems that making the plane didn’t equate to immunity, either. In fact, far from it. “We have naturally got a big squad at the moment so some will drop out and by doing that, the quality will rise as well,” the manager told RangersTV.
Here are five players who could be affected by the upcoming cull:
Rangers are currently awash with senior goalkeepers. Four were at the training camp in the Algarve and something has to give sooner or later. Allan McGregor is no.1 and Wes Foderingham is the next most capable option. Andy Firth is also there and as shown by his failure to feature against Mansfield, isn’t really a genuine contender. Yet, given he had a decent season in League One last season, Alnwick is perhaps most likely to drop out. He is both expendable and could potentially command a sell on fee.
Mayo was drafted into the senior setup as in Connor Goldson, Gerrard only had one centre-back with a first-team appearance ahead of the tour. However, now that Nikola Katic has returned from Croatia U21 duty and George Edmundson has settled in, the teenager is likely to drop back to the development teams.
It will have been encouraging for Barjonas to get the nod for the Algarve training squad. He also got a half hour run out in the second third against Mansfield at the weekend. Yet, as a central midfielder, he’s going to struggle to stay in the squad. With the likes of Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Ryan Jack, and Joe Aribo to compete with, Barjonas could soon find himself back out on loan.
It’s much the same story for fellow central midfielder Kelly. The 19-year-old Scottish Youth international is highly-rated at Ibrox, and made his debut against Ayr United in last season’s League Cup. However, it’s probably too soon for him to genuinely compete for a regular spot. Perhaps now is the time for his first loan stint, so he can get a taste of regular senior football.
Mebude was a standout in the Gers Reserves and age-group sides last season. Consequently, he earned a first team debut away at Kilmarnock in the final game of the 2018/19 SPL campaign. Yet, he only featured as a substitute in the final period of Saturday’s bounce game. We have to remember that this exciting forward is only 17. He still has a lot of developing to do. Therefore, having given him a taste of first-team football, Stevie G may now send him back to development level to see if he can kick on.