It’s no secret that Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has a Ianis Hagi-shaped problem on his hands. Namely, a lack of self-belief, with recent reports revealing that the Romania international’s confidence has taken a knock. However, Adrian Mutu may have the answers to Gerrard’s problems…
“I have nothing bad to say about him, he came here back to the Under 21s squad with exactly the right attitude.
“He’s trained very well. He’s not under any special pressure to perform because we all know what we get from him.
“He has the ability and skill to make the difference in any match he plays.”
The Gers winger captained the national development side on Tuesday night as they secured a berth at the Euro 2020 Championships next summer.
Mutu gave Hagi a huge confidence boost by handing him the captain’s armband and the former Chelsea midfielder was rewarded almost immediately as a 1-1 draw proved to be enough to seal their second-place spot with their opponents Denmark finishing first in the group.
Before we get started, let’s just make one thing clear – we’re not saying that Gerrard should strip the captaincy from James Tavernier to give Hagi some much-needed confidence, as that would be preposterous. However, he needs to know the needs of each and every member of his squad, whether they require a rollicking or an arm around the shoulder to encourage them to perform to their very best.
If it isn’t obvious already, it seems like Hagi requires the latter treatment, which should be expected from a young player who is still at the early stages of his professional career and is still trying to grow and develop as a player. Getting him back to enjoying his football at a club level would at least be a good start.
In 16 appearances in all competitions, the 22-year-old has scored one goal and supplied eight assists so far this season, which is a pretty impressive return, especially when you consider the fact that he has provided the second-highest amount of assists in the first team, just behind the club captain.
Despite these statistics, the Ibrox boss benched Hagi several times before the international break, as he has spent two of the past four games on the bench, whilst he last made an appearance as a substitute in the second half in the 8-0 win at home over Hamilton Academical.
As the famous saying goes, ‘let the boy win his spurs.’ His father Gheorghe Hagi has insisted that he “is a No.10 who can do everything“, whilst Hagi is trying to work his way back into the fold after a successful stint with the national youth squad.
He’s clearly making all the right noises, as he has laid out his ambitions for his club and country after joining the Gers in January. Now Gerrard must put his faith in the youngster if he is to perform to the best of his abilities on a regular basis for the rest of the season.