Rangers had the worst defensive record among any of the top 7 seven sides last season as they let in 50 goals. However, with Steven Gerrard coming in, that area has seen one of the major improvements for the club as they have looked tight and solid at the back. The club dove into the transfer market and brought in defensive players first. Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and Jon Flanagan all played a big part in the Europa League qualifiers.
However, off late Gerrard hasn’t been undeterred in trying out new defensive pairing for the centre-back positions. So much so that he went in with an entirely new pairing of Connor Goldson and Joe Worrall in what was probably their biggest test of the season where they took on Villarreal away.
Goldson and Katic seemed like the preferred centre-back pairing, but Gerrard has slowly pushed Worrall into the first team now. In the Scottish League Cup last game, Goldson was the one who sat out, and Katic and Worrall partnered up. As of now, we don’t think that Goldson’s spot is under question and Gerrard tried that pairing against Ayr only to give Goldson a breather as he has played all the games so far for the Gers.
It seems clear that Gerrard is trying to identify his best pairing and we feel he might settle into Worrall and Goldson. It would be slightly harsh on Katic as he has done well. But with quite a few competitions to compete in, it’s a smart move by Gerrard to get all his centre-back pairings accustomed to each other.
An injury to one defender in a well settled central defensive partnership can be problematic. And all of a sudden playing in a defensive set up with a new player can cause lack of chemistry at the back. This way Gerrard is getting the three prime defenders used to each other which should provide good dividends in the future.
However, there will come a time where Gerrard would have to decide on his strongest pairing, and maybe currently the auditions are going on. Gareth McAuley would also like to have some say in that as the veteran man can come in handy in various situations. He has missed the last few games due to not being fit but once available; the Northern Irishman would also be in contention to start.
The partnership of Worrall and Goldson looks solid as both seem like strong leaders at the back and even though the Nottingham Forest loanee has played just two games so far, he has looked the part. Even against Villarreal, it didn’t seem like the Englishman was making his debut as he was seen barking orders. Therefore, the pairing of these two seems to be ahead regarding the preferred choice for the gaffer.