Another 90 minutes in the legs today and a win at Ibrox. What was learned from yesterdays performance? Let’s look at five key takeaways from the game.
Dowell And Lammers Impress AGAIN
I’ve been hugely impressed by the energy and fight on display by Kieran Dowell. His biggest asset upon his arrival was supposed to be his ability on the ball. However, I’ve been much more impressed with his work off of it.
He was key to the effectiveness of Rangers press against the German side. I feel very similarly to how I did with Todd Cantwell in terms of his off the ball work. If he can get close to Cantwell’s output going forward then Rangers have a gem. Below is a clip which epitomised his performance;
If he keeps that up and puts it together going forward, he’ll settle in just fine.
Sam Lammers has as much quality on the ball as anyone I’ve seen in recent years at Ibrox. He plays like he’s wearing slippers, the ball is glued to his feet. He constantly wants the ball and tries to link up with his team mates.
It’s a breath of fresh air having multiple players demand the ball now. Lammers technically ability, I believe, will be key in Rangers attacking build up this season.
There was a passage of play where he turned a defender inside out and fired a dangerous cross into the box. That’s what his two footedness allows him to do. Defenders don’t know which way he’s going to do.
I believe he’ll be an absolute terror for SPFL defences.
Read more on my thoughts on Sam Lammers here.
Johnly Yfeko and Bailey Rice
20-year-old Yfeko strolled the game when he came on at left centre back. His positioning was excellent and he was very composed. He’s comfortable on the ball and always looks to play it forward.
His play was very reminiscent of a left-sided John Souttar, which excites me. He didn’t looked phased against Newcastle either. Do you think he’s ready for more first team action?
I’m going to stick my neck out and say I think Bailey Rice is Rangers most promising youngster since Barry Ferguson. He’s only 16-years-old and he plays with such maturity. He has an incredibly developed footballing brain that allows him to seem like he always has lots of time on the ball.
He never wastes a pass and always wants the ball. His confidence is something to be admired. There’s also just something about a left footed centre mid. He has huge potential and it will be interesting to see how/if he’s used this season.
John Souttar is Rangers Most Complete CB
A fully fit and firing John Souttar is an absolute joy to watch. Defensively he’s solid and he’s so comfortable and composed on the ball.
He reminds me of a more polished Madjid Bougherra at times with the way he steps into the midfield. His ability on the ball means I honestly don’t think he would look out of place playing in front of the defence. It also helps that he’s very positive with his passing. He always tries to fire it through the lines and get Rangers up the pitch.
In the air he’s also excellent, not many strikers, if any, even look a challenge to him. I think he’s also the strongest centre back that Rangers have, in the air and in the tackle. It’s great to have a defender to defensively solid while being that good on the ball.
Of all the takeaways, I’m glad John Souttar is continuing his form from last season. Let’s just hope he can stay fit.
Rabbi Matondo Isn’t Good Enough
I don’t think it’s fair to judge a player based purely off of pre-season. When it’s a player who’s been at the club for over a year though, it’s difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt. I was really excited when Rangers signed Matondo. A rapid winger with international and Bundesliga experience, that came from Man City’s academy and was still only 21? I thought it could’ve been a match made in heaven.
However, I was very wrong with this one. Being out of favour and having injury issues meant he only made 19 SPFL appearances. In this appearances though, he rarely stood out. He did show glimpses of quality, but never consistently enough to make a starting spot his own.
He has plenty of pace and can look dangerous, however, his lack of technical ability often lets him down. Then if it doesn’t, his decision making isn’t great either. A prime example in the game yesterday was his touch from Abdallah Sima’s cross. The cross fell nicely into his path and he should’ve been able to take a touch and get a shot away. In the end though, he miscontrolled it and it rolled into the goalkeepers hands, a great chance gone to waste.
I don’t doubt he can reach another level, I just don’t think Rangers have the time to wait on him getting there. A bid anywhere in the range of £2-3m I think Rangers should strongly consider and stick a sell-on, on it, just incase.
John Lundstram Slows Everything Down
Now, I don’t think this is anything to do with fitness, it’s just his style of play. A few times Rangers when Rangers were playing some nice, quick, one or two touch plays, he always wanted an extra touch. This slowed every chance of a positive attack right down to the point that, most of the time, the ball ended up back with the defence.
This happened last season as well, when he kept getting caught on the ball due to not releasing it quickly enough. It happened again yesterday, when there was an easy pass on. For some reason, he just held on to it, the ball got stuck under his feet and he lost possession on the edge of Rangers box.
I know he’s capable of playing one or two touch football, we’ve all seen it. Just recently though, he’s been taking too many touches and not playing the ball off quickly enough. He’s really stood out in the last two friendlies, in a negative way. Everything he’s doing is going against what the rest of the team are trying to do and it’s incredibly frustrating.
Hopefully that can be sorted before the season starts, although I’m not sure many fans would be happy to see him in the starting line-up against Kilmarnock on the first day of the season.
It wasn’t an incredible performance yesterday, the front three in the first half definitely didn’t click together and I don’t think will be seen again any time soon. The second half, again, was much better and Rangers used the ball more effectively. There are encouraging signs but the level definitely needs to be upped for the upcoming Champions League qualifiers.
It was also great to see Cyriel Dessers make his debut and to see Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe back on the pitch, we’ll hopefully see more of them on Wednesday.
What did you think of the performance? Who stood out to you yesterday? Did you learn anything more about the new signings?