17-year-old Zak Lovelace incredibly assisted all five goals as Rangers B ran out 5-3 winners over Burnley’s U21s. The youngster has been in and around the first team during preseason but stayed at home with the B team this time round. His brilliant performance in this best vs best game shows the potential he has.
He’s normally more known for scoring goals but was a real creative force in the match yesterday. His biggest strengths are his pace, strength and finishing ability but it was his ability to create for his team mates which stood out yesterday.
He’s someone that has impressed the manager enough to be involved in first team match day squads. He was touted for huge things at Millwall and was linked to EPL clubs before deciding to come to Rangers.
He looks to be progressing well and will no doubt be knocking on the first team door in the next year or two.
Zak Lovelace on The Performance
Normally I wouldn’t really enjoy a game if I don’t score, but I got five assists and I feel happy!
I feel like we had a lot of control. They did have spells where they kept the ball for a bit, but we were relaxed in the way that we handled it because we moved like a team and controlled it. We showed our quality when we did get on the ball, and that’s why we scored five goals.
The other side of the game is also important because you can score as many goals as you want, but if you don’t have other parts of your game then you’re just half a player.Zak Lovelace to RTV
It was encouraging to see the creative side of his game during the match. He normally plays through the middle but yesterday showed he could be effective as a winger with how many chances he created.
The clip below shows, for me, his best assist yesterday;
An incredible one-two with McPake with the perfect outside of the boot pass from Lovelace.
The Englishmen also spoke about how much he enjoys playing with Alex Lowry and Thompson Ishaka;
I love playing alongside Alex [Lowry] especially as he can hit passes that I feel no other player can hit. It’s lovely playing alongside him. I also love playing with Thompson as we can run together, both of us are quick so it’s nice to have someone to run with.Zak Lovelace on Alex Lowry and Thompson Ishaka
The promising trio were no doubt a treat to watch for fans yesterday. Have they done enough to get Michael Beale to include them in more first team action this season?
David McCallum on The Performance
The B team manager had this to say on his sides display;
We started really well, got ourselves ahead, and then Burnley started to get a grip. They looked really good out of possession and made it really difficult, but we found ourselves back into the game and got back moments of control. That’s where I thought it was really good.
It’s a real tactical and technical challenge these games. You need to make sure that when you have to be at the top of your game, you make a difference, and I thought we did that.
It’s a little frustrating to lose the goal at the end to make it 5-3, but I really enjoyed both the game and the strong attacking threat that we brought throughout the 90 minutes. We also understood that you need to be comfortable without the ball and we did that.
I’m just really enjoying watching the lads play at the moment. We have a real control about how we want to look with the ball, and we take challenges on.David McCallum to RTV
The manager was clearly impressed by the youngsters performances. Particularly their ability to get a goal quickly after conceding. Defensively, it could always be better, but going forward they were a real threat all game.
Players like Lyall, Rice and Lowry play excellent football in the middle and with pacey players like Thompson Ishaka and Lovelace up top they’re always going to cause problems.
Do the best vs best matches offer these players the greatest chance to progress?
Lyall, Lowry, Rice and Thompson Ishaka all impressed against Burnley but Lovelace and his 5 assists made him stand out. I knew he was quick, strong and a good finisher but had no idea his creative side of the game could be so good.
The 17-year-old was involved in the first team squad at the end of last season and during preseason. Do you think he’s ready for the step up or is it still too early?