Today Rangers team was announced for the group stage of the Europa League. With an already inflated squad there were always going to be some interesting omissions.
The big names not on the squad list were;
- Jon McLaughin
- Leon Balogun
- Ridvan Yilmaz
- Kieran Dowell
This surely cements Balogun’s place as fourth choice centre back instead of third choice. Ridvan Yilmaz recently came off of the bench in the OF so him being missing from the squad is interesting. Kieran Dowell also missed the last game due to injury, is that injury perhaps worse than previously thought?
Let’s look at the players included and those who won’t be involved in trying to help Rangers progress to knock-out European football.
It’s a very top heavy squad list but that is where the bulk of money was invested this summer. Both Kieran and Scott Wright are presumably there for the homegrown quota and won’t get much/if any game time.
All of the new forwards are included, as expected but surely it’s a worry just how too heavy this squad is? Only three centre backs is the biggest concern, for me anyway.
The Excluded List
Jon McLaughlin not being in the squad isn’t the least bit surprising. With a lack of defensive options it’s maybe a surprise that Balogun was left out but if injuries occur Leon King is still available to play.
The biggest surprise, for me, is the exclusion of Ridvan Yilmaz. Many fans expected him to be first choice this season but injury interrupted his start to the campaign. Recently Borna Barisic has only come in for criticism for his ‘injury’ against Celtic only to be fine days later for international duty.
£4m was invested into the Turkish left back and he ended last season very well. It would have been interesting if he was fit to start the season who would have been first choice. This feels like a sure sign that Borna Barisic is Michael Beale’s first choice, which won’t go down well with a section of fans.
Kieran Dowell not being included suggests his injury is perhaps more longer term than first thought. He looked good in pre season but aside from a start on the opening day he’s mostly made sun appearances. He scored a screamer off the bench against Livingston but injury kept him out against Celtic.
It will be very interesting to see if the manager is question on this squad at the next press conference.
The top heaviness of this squad worries me, it looks completely disjointed and is a bit of a mess. Despite Leon King being available, three CBs seems like a mistake. It seems like the defence selected is going on blind faith that no one picks up an injury.
I still fancy Rangers to get out of the group, Real Betis are the biggest competition and anything less than 2nd won’t be disappointing.
How do you feel about the squad? What are your thoughts on Ridvan’s exclusion? Should less forwards have been included? Where do they all fit?
There are many questions that will hopefully be answered a week on Thursday when the campaign kicks off against Betis at home.
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ICYMI you can read yesterdays article on whether Rangers should’ve signed Lawrence Shankland here.