Nicolas Raskin played for less than fifteen minutes on his Rangers debut and a lot of fans were already sold on him. He came onto the pitch with a drive and tenacity the midfield had been lacking. A Belgian U21 international who had interest from some of Europe’s top leagues, expectations were high.
He definitely met them in his first few appearances with fans hailing the move as a huge success. However, after a couple of weeks out he looked off the pace on his return. That was to be expected really though. He hadn’t been playing at Standard Liege and was thrown in at the deep end when he arrived at Ibrox.
He wasn’t poor by any means, in fact, still one of Rangers better performers. There just wasn’t the same buzz as before his injury. The slight drop in performance made a section of fans anxious about his ability and potential.
That should never have came into question though and he proved that against Celtic at the weekend. He was tremendous playing as the deepest lying midfielder of the three. He made sure no Celtic player had a second on the ball and was first to every loose ball to gain back possession. He constantly made Celtic turn the ball over with his pressing and pressure on the ball carrier.
He was everywhere. Then when he did win the ball back he showed quality on it too. He should’ve had an assist with that beautiful pass through their defence to Sakala but unfortunately he didn’t capitalise.
Let’s look at his numbers from that game;
- 90mins Played
- 84% Pass Accuracy
- 1 Chance Created
- 100% Dribble Success (2/2)
- 5 Passes Into The Final Third
- 67% Tackles Won (4/6)
- 12 Recoveries
- 67% Ground Duels Won (8/12)
This was his best performance in a Rangers jersey so far. It showed what he was capable of and it’s never easy to dominate the midfield in an Old Firm to the level he did.
He speaks incredibly well in pressers and seems to be enjoying his time at the club. His tenacious play style is what endears him to the fans, he leaves everything on the pitch and gives it all for the badge.
At only 22 he has plenty of time to develop his game even further. He’s a player Rangers have been lucky to get and should enjoy while he’s here.
Roberto Martínez had this to say on Nicolas Raskin: “Firstly, I think it is a very clever signing for Rangers… He has the potential to be a top midfielder at European level.. It reminds me of another former Rangers player, Rino Gattuso.”
Incredibly high praise from the former Belgium first team coach. Many experts from Belgium expect him to make it to the very top. One even compared his ability level to that of Amadou Onana of Everton, whom they recently spent £25m+ on.
He has also stated that Rangers will be a stepping stone in his career and he has desires and dreams to play for a club like Chelsea. That can’t be a shock to fans and is inevitable when you go after someone so highly rated.
Nicolas Raskin might not be at Rangers for long, but while he still is he can be an absolute star for the club. Already one of the first names on the team sheet he can push even further with a good pre-season behind him.
How highly do you rate him? How far do you see him making it in the game?