Rangers signed Jermain Defoe this month to bolster their attacking outlet and to provide backup to the likes of Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty. Given the calibre of the English striker, he would definitely claim a starting place once he adjusts to his new surrounding and the club.
Even after that, Gerrard still feels he might need more cover in the forward department as he has seemingly recalled Ryan Hardie from a loan spell from Livingston. As per reports in the Daily Record, the striker has travelled with the team to Tenerife after impressing in his loan spell with Livingston.
Livingston currently sits on the seventh spot on the table and Hardie had managed five goals for them in 7 appearances. Reports add that Livingston manager was keen on extending his loan stint until the end of the season but Rangers didn’t oblige and it is likely that he might turn out for the Gers in the second half of the season.
However, the decision doesn’t make sense as, given the quality which the Bears have upfront especially after the signing of Defoe, Hardie would hardly ever make the starting eleven. At Livingston, he could have continued with his development but maybe Gerrard feels that the 21-year-old would develop much better at Ibrox.
Hardie can even play on the flanks when required so his versatility maybe the reason the manager decided to call him back to Rangers. It definitely seems clear that Gerrard doesn’t want to leave any stones unturned in trying to break Celtic’s monopoly in the Scottish Premiership.
As the season goes by, injuries and suspension would definitely play some role, and maybe Gerrard is trying to be extra cautious by bringing in the young forward. The striker though can learn a lot by being in the presence of the likes of Defoe and Gerrard but nothing can replicate an actual matchday experience, and it is likely that Hardie would miss out on that.
The forward missed the initial part of the season due to injury, but in the latter stages of his loan spell, the youngster did go on to play a useful role in a talented Livingston side. Hardie is in the last year of his contract with the Bears having won an extension in 2018. Therefore this could be the last chance for him to impress, and maybe Gerrard and Co. want to see him from close quarters and make a decision on whether to offer the striker a new contract beyond this summer. However, everything in balance, we don’t think this was the best of calls from Gerrard.