Tom Lawrence has spent most of his career playing from the left but could he be more effective playing through the middle for Rangers? Of his total of 350 career appearances he’s played 190 out on the left. From that position he’s scored 37 goals and gotten 24 assists. It’s where he’s been the most effective previously and, presumably, what made him stand out to Rangers.
He started out on the left on Saturday and a mixture of lack of first team action combined with Rangers generally not playing well left him isolated on the wing. In the second half, however, he played more centrally and was excellent. He looked like the player that was playing at the beginning of last season.
On the ball the Welshman was positive and creative. He was a breath of fresh air in a performance that was pretty stagnant. With the pace of Matondo and Sima on the wings Lawrence could really make use of his excellent passing ability. Him being central led to Rangers second goal.
After some excellent quick feet Raskin played the ball in to Rangers #11. He then, without taking a touch, let the ball roll passed him to let him play a beautiful first time through ball to the onrushing Matondo. The weight of the pass was perfect and allowed the winger to take it in his stride and he finished expertly.
Does this mean that Tom Lawrence could be more effective centrally?
Tom Lawrence vs St. Johnstone
These were his numbers from the game in Perth;
- 90 Minutes Played
- 1 Assist
- 82% Pass Accuracy (32/39)
- 2 Chances Created (1 Big Chance Created)
- 2 Shots (1 Blocked & 1 On Target)
- 100% Successful Dribbles (1/1)
- 7 Passes into the Final Third
- 100% Tackles Won (1/1)
- 3 Recoveries
- 57% Ground Duels Won (4/7)
A very good performance, especially for a first competitive start in around 13 months. As mentioned previously, he really kicked on in the 2nd half and took the game by the scruff of the neck. Stepping in for Todd Cantwell, he was the player that really looked like he could make something happen.
He displayed all the qualities shown at the beginning of last season. Energetic, tenacious, confident on the ball and provides a bit of flair/creativity. It was exactly what Rangers fans wanted to see from Tom Lawrence after his long injury lay off. He would obviously be afforded the time to get back into the swing of things, however, he might not need it.
Has he played his way into the starting line-up for you? Should he start again against Betis on Thursday evening?
As much as Tom Lawrence has spent the majority of his career playing on the left wing, he definitely looked more dangerous playing centrally on Saturday. Does that mean Michael Beale has to find a place for him in the middle?
With Lawrence in the middle and pace on the wings, Rangers looked much more dangerous in the second half against St. Johnstone. Is this something that should be adopted going forward? His passing and vision are both excellent, these assets could be more effective through the middle, potentially.
Where do you think Lawrence could have the biggest impact? Would you stick with him in his more natural position of on the left? Would you have him centrally with pace out wide? How do you think Michael Beale will utilise the Welshman going forward?
ICYMI you can read our article on if Rangers should go back to using wingers here.