Rangers have flattered to deceive since the winter break and quite a few players have come under the scanner. They have struggled to open up teams that defend deep in numbers. One player who was brought in the summer for big money to solve that problem was Ryan Kent. The winger impressed for Rangers on loan and Gerrard and the board decided to stump up £7m for him in the summer to bring him permanently from Liverpool.
Kent has scored six goals and four assists in all competitions this season. He has put in quite a few underwhelming displays off late, and many wouldn’t be surprised if he is dropped in the future games.
Kris Boyd criticises Kent
Former Scottish international Kris Boyd, who won two league titles with Rangers, recently came down heavily on Kent’s performances. In his column in the Scottish Sun he wrote, “Ryan Kent cost £7million. That’s huge money for Gers to be shelling out on someone who has delivered next to nothing in return.”
“Celtic spent the same amount of cash on Christopher Jullien, and he’s scored seven goals to Kent’s six. He’s a centre-back! Kent has set up just FOUR goals. I’m sorry, but how can that be good enough? How is that justifying your wages?”
Boyd is justified in criticising Kent for his attacking returns. For comparison, Celtic’s winger James Forrest has 16 goals and a whopping 21 assists in all competitions this season. He has played 16 more games than Kent so far, but even if Kent plays those number of games, he is unlikely to match Forrest’s returns. Surprisingly some Celtic fans have criticised Forrest for some of his performances this season.
Kent was expected to be Rangers’ main man this campaign, but he has often meandered through games in the recent past. Sometimes he tries to overdo things and loses possession.
What can Gerrard do?
Gerrard has used his wide men more like attacking midfielders this season as they tuck inside and it’s the fullbacks that provide the real width on the pitch. Kent is a threatening player on the counter given his pace, but Rangers hardly get to play on the counter in the Premiership. He is at his best when he gets defenders in one on situations and looks to drive inside from the wide regions. Hence, Gerrard can probably give him the role of a more traditional winger instead of asking him to occupy and attack the central areas consistently.
Things are not only in Gerrard’s hands, and Kent needs to take responsibility for his performances. It is fair to say that he has failed to live up to the hype of being a £7m player so far.
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