Umar Sadiq was one of the big summer signing for Rangers even though he was on a season-long loan. The fact that he came from a club like AS Roma, having made few appearances here and there excited everyone around at the Ibrox. However, the Nigerian had failed to impress Steven Gerrard, and the gaffer had earlier criticised Sadiq publicly. The frustration of Gerrard could be known from the fact that he said Sadiq would have to do an awful lot to make the side in a game where he is the only striker available (League Cup Semi-final vs Aberdeen).
However, now it seems like Gerrard has handed him a lifeline and seems impressed with the Nigerian. The manager was quoted as saying,”Umar has shown that improvement. He’s been working very hard. He’s got his head down. He’s improved a lot. His application has improved, his quality has improved so he’s given me something to think about for the future.
“I don’t know (if the warning has sparked the change), that’s something you’d have to ask Umar. But sometimes when a manager is honest with you, sometimes you have to go away and self-reflect. If you’re a proper footballer you go analyse and come back stronger.”
If Gerrard can get the best out of this Nigerian beast, then it would solve a lot his headaches. Alfredo Morelos might be in good form, and Kyle Lafferty could be more than an able replacement, but both of them are set to miss the cup tie against Aberdeen. Probably Gerrard’s move of publicly calling out Sadiq seems to have worked (At least on the training ground for now).
It remains to be seen now whether he would get some playing time before the all-important semi-final clash. Sadiq is a traditional no. 9 and a big threat in the air. Roma bought Sadiq from Spezia Primavera for £2m after seeing his goal-scoring exploits at the junior level.
The Nigerian had scored 27 goals for them in 32 appearances, and Roma didn’t have any hesitancy in paying such amount for a young striker. Even for Roma’s youth team, the forward continued banging in goals as he managed 14 goals and five assists in 10 appearances. However, he has found it tough to establish himself at the senior level, and so the club sent him on loan.
Maybe Sadiq thought that at Rangers he would get in the team regularly, but that hasn’t happened. Finally, the youngster has realised that he needs to work hard to get into the playing eleven and Gerrard’s handling of the striker should also be applauded if he goes on to play an important role for the Bears from here onwards. At one point, it looked like the Nigerian might not even stay until the end of the season so this is a positive update for now.