Glasgow Rangers finally boast some seriously exciting talents at their disposal as Ross Wilson signed Cedric Itten and Kemar Roofe in the summer to add to Steven Gerrard’s attacking options, but arguably none more so than Ianis Hagi, who scored three goals during his loan spell at Ibrox.
Whilst Roofe has impressed on the right wing in recent weeks, with three goals and an assist in his past two games in the Premiership, the 22-year-old is arguably a player for the big occasions, as he inspired Rangers to mount a stunning comeback to beat Braga in the Europa League last season, which is precisely why Gerrard must consider recalling the Romania international to the starting line-up.
The Gers are getting ready to face Benfica at Ibrox in what will be their toughest test to date so far this season, having thrown away a two-goal lead in Lisbon at the start of the month. Unleashing Hagi could add that element of unpredictability they need to qualify for the knockout stages.
There’s no doubt that Roofe been one of their most prolific strikers this season, with a tally of six goals and one assist in 11 games in all competitions to his name so far. However, it’s fair to say that the Jamaican has also struggled for consistency at times this season, as he missed the chance to put the game to bed against Lech Poznan in the Europa League last month.
Gerrard has shown that he isn’t afraid to make cutthroat decisions, as Alfredo Morelos threw a tantrum after being hooked when the points were in the bag against Aberdeen. He may decide to drop Roofe as Hagi is surely pushing for a recall with Romania U21 boss Adrian Mutu recently calling his young charge a “super” talent after he impressed the former Chelsea striker with his attitude during the international break.
The stage is arguably set for the right winger to stake his claim for a place in the starting line-up, as he has shown he can deliver when it matters the most. Recency bias aside, it’s worth remembering Hagi bagged a brace as the Gers roared back to beat Braga in a 3-2 win at Ibrox to head into their second leg with a one-goal advantage, with his father Gheorghe Hagi watching from the stands.
Following his eye-catching performance against the Portuguese giants last season, the Ibrox boss must put his faith in Hagi to face their rivals Benfica in the Europa League tonight.