Glasgow Rangers were incredibly busy in the summer transfer window as Steven Gerrard brought in as many as eight players to strengthen his side for the 2020/21 Scottish Premiership season.
Gerrard finally got his midfield wish as the Light Blues beat the transfer deadline to sign Bongani Zungu from French Ligue 2 side Amiens on an initial loan deal.
It means that the Ibrox boss has at least six options to choose from for three positions, with Zungu, Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack vying for three places behind the front three.
Whilst Gerrard is almost spoilt for choice, his decision to give Rangers academy product Ciaran Dickson a spot on the bench for the game against Benfica in the Europa League will have raised a few eyebrows.
However, Gerrard clearly rates Dickson very highly indeed, as the 18-year-old was named instead of the South Africa international on the team sheet in Lisbon on Thursday.
The midfielder has made five appearances in the UEFA Youth League this season, scoring one goal so far, which is an impressive return when you consider the fact that he was forced to quarantine last month.
Given his age, it’s fair to say that the 32-year-old isn’t getting any younger, and there will soon come a point where Rangers will have to rejuvenate their aging squad, which is where Dickson could come into the fold.
Gerrard could get the best out of the teenager in a similar way to Arfield by deploying him as an attacking midfielder. His versatility is an added bonus as he can also operate in a more central role in the middle of the pitch.
Rangers academy coach Graeme Murty hailed the “wonderful” wonderkid after his side came from behind to beat Aberdeen last December and said: “Ciaran is a really interesting guy because he possesses some wonderful technique, we are still building things onto him in terms of capacity and in terms of understanding but he deals with the ball very very well.
“It would’ve been very easy for him on the edge of the box to lash at the ball and really try and hit it hard but he didn’t he just caressed it and passed it into the bottom corner which is something we encourage but it is different us encouraging it in training and us encouraging it in development sessions to actually going and doing it in the pressure of the game.
“I thought it was a very key indicator of where his mindset is when he gets around the box he is very relaxed and he is very sure of his own ability which bodes well for the future.”
Although it’s unlikely Dickson will earn a senior start anytime soon, it’s about time the Gers started to trust their youth system. Gerrard has fired a warning at academy players in the past, saying they will not be picked for the first team unless they show they are fully committed to the club. If that’s indeed the case, then it looks like the Scottish U19 international is highly-rated by the Ibrox outfit, which could be a sign of things to come.
AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers should give Connor Goldson a rest after Benfica showing…