Rangers have strengthened in almost every area since Steven Gerrard took over and it is clear that he wants two top options for every position. However, there is one area which is raising question marks, and that is the left-back spot. Rangers have three options in the form of Andy Halliday, Jon Flanagan and Borna Barisic but none of the three has been able to grab the spot.
McCoist on left-back issues
Former Scotland and Rangers hero Ally McCoist recently went on to convey his displeasure about the lack of quality at left-back. He said (The Scottish Sun), ”I don’t think there’s any doubt that’s the position that I would (strengthen). I am not convinced by Flanagan. I don’t know what has happened with Barisic. When he first came, I thought, he is a player, he looked comfortable, good use of the ball, but he seems to have gone back for me.”
We try to find out what has been the problem with Barisic
The Croatian international looked sharp when he joined Rangers, but he has indeed gone backwards as McCoist points out. Injuries have also played a role for him, and he just hasn’t managed to settle in. The physicality and intensity of the Premiership seem to be too much for him. The player’s mentality and toughness also look like a problem. Gerrard gave an interview in January where he had a slight dig at Barisic and indicated that he needs to toughen up.
After a game against Helsinki in January, Barisic limped off, and Gerrard said, ”I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Borna (on the extent of the injury). He had me worried because he tapped the floor about 55 times. But I’m not sure. It looks he’s moving okay now.”
We might be reading too much into this small interview, but it’s clear that the manager isn’t the biggest fan of the Croatian. There was definitely a subtle dig at him by asking him to toughen up. In April, reports came out that the English manager was unhappy with the desire and commitment shown by the defender.
Gerrard reportedly lashed out at certain players including Barisic as Rangers were down 4-0 at half time against Liverpool’s u-23 team in a friendly match. Barisic did go on to later say that media blew things out of proportion. Other players who were involved were Kyle Lafferty and Eros Grezda. Lafferty has already moved away, and Grezda is in talks to move away so there could have been some truth about Gerrard being unhappy with these three players.
Even against East Fife, Gerrard opted to play Andy Halliday at left-back, and that was also another significant indication that Barisic might not be in the plans. Gerrard gave him a chance against Kilmarnock a few weeks ago, but it seems now that the fullback has blown his opportunity.
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