With Connor Goldson and Ben Davies forming such a strong partnership in the heart of the Rangers defence it’s hard to see where someone like John Souttar fits in. Michael Beale had mentioned the idea of trying a back three at some point and it happened towards the end of the game against Motherwell at the weekend. Is that the only way to fit him in?
Obviously Souttar has had injury issues in the past and had a nightmare start to his Rangers career, not playing from 30th July until the 4th March but in his limited game time in the last couple of weeks he has looked promising. Over the last two games these are his numbers;
15/15 Forward Passes
7/7 Passes to the Final Third
5/5 Duels Won
He is a proper modern day CB, incredibly comfortable coming out with the ball and a really accomplished passer, Rangers have a proper player in him and it would be a shame for him to only play a bit part role going forward. At Twenty-Six he is approaching his prime and in a ball dominant team like Rangers he’s the type of CB the club need.
He was brought to Rangers after a terrific season with Hearts, so let’s look at those numbers;
These are the type of numbers you would expect from a modern day CB, but probably the type of numbers you’d expect from a CB at a title challenging side, not one in 3rd place. As previously stated he is confident on the ball and effective carrying it forward while also having the ability to find an accurate pass at the end of the run.
His rate of 1.76 progressive runs last season is more than Morelos, Lundstram and Kamara Per90 this season, that’s a CB carrying the ball forward more often than two CMs and a striker! The attempted forward passes are what Ben Davies is currently giving Rangers from the left hand side and Souttar could provide that from the right if Michael Beale decides that’s how he wants to set it up.
He is a very intelligent defender and loves to pick off forward passes before driving forward with the ball and his positional awareness is what contributes to the amount of interceptions he picks up on average P90. He also possesses a strong aerial presence but is smart/strong enough to often out muscle opponents to avoid having to deal with an aerial duel, preferring to have the ball on the deck instead.
The stats are great on paper and when he’s on the pitch he looks like he belongs in the Rangers side but there are two issues, can he remain fit? And where does he fit in?
This is a question that Michael Beale will have to answer, does he drop either Goldson or Davies to give Souttar game time? Does he try out the back three system with Souttar on the right of the three? There is a quality, ball-playing CB available here but it’s up to Beale how he uses him because he is definitely deserving of his place in the Rangers squad.