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Rangers Midfield Ace Hopes To ‘Bridge The Gap’ To First-Team: Should Gerrard Incorporate Him?

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According to a recent interview on Rangers’ official club website, promising on-loan central midfielder Stephen Kelly has claimed that he hopes to break into the first-team picture next season. The 20-year-old, who spent the current league season on loan at Championship club Ayr United, has been extremely highly rated as a holding midfielder. He also went on to comment that the commencement of the season will provide a lot more clarity on his position in the squad next season.

As optimistic as he is, Kelly is keeping his options open for the upcoming summer and has even conceded that he won’t know what the future holds until football restarts. The youngster said, “I think it definitely is an important season for my future but I am excited to see what happens over the next number of months, I have improved whilst been on loan so ideally, I hope that it will help bridge the gap to the first-team squad. Once the season starts back and we get back into the swing of things I will be able to have a clearer picture of what my plans will be, whether that is another loan or not.”

What Does Stephen Kelly Offer In The Midfield Area?

The 20-year-old is a reasonably well-rounded central midfielder, who seems to excel in various aspects of the game. Although he can be deployed in a slightly more advanced role if required, it’s worth considering that the youngster is at his best when operating from the spaces in the central areas of the pitch. The Scottish midfielder is an excellent carrier of the ball from the middle of the park, while he also makes various defensive contributions.

One of the youngster’s most significant selling points is the fact that he tends to be a set-piece specialist. Be it delivering crosses into the box from a wide free-kick or taking a shot on from a central one; Kelly often finds the target that he’s aiming for. While the 20-year-old does offer a variety of attributes while going forward, it’s worth considering that he works hard while tracking back and provides added defensive cover to the centre-halves too.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 06: The League flag is unfurled before the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Hamilton Academical at Ibrox Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

How Has The Youngster’s Season At Ayr Gone?

The Scottish midfielder played in a total of 27 Championship fixtures before the season was brought to a halt, and despite operating mainly out of the central midfield role, the youngster picked up a decent return of five goals and three assists. Kelly started every single league fixture over the course of the campaign and became a relatively important part of the core of this Ayr United side. He played a further six fixtures across the two cup competitions as well and even has a decent goal to show for his efforts.

Should Gerrard Look To Incorporate Kelly Into The Side This Season?

The Gers currently boast a multitude of options in the middle of the park, with as many as six players fighting it out for the limited berths that are available at the Ibrox. Names like Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack will undoubtedly have important parts to play in the upcoming seasons, which means that there will still be current first-team players who would have to do with places on the bench.

Stephen Kelly is undoubtedly a highly exciting talent that Steven Gerrard should eventually begin planning for, but whether that’s to happen next season, is a question that only the manager can answer. We would say it’s still probably too early as of right now.

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