Steven Gerrard has built a strong Rangers squad full of talented players to compete for places in the starting XI at Ibrox throughout the course of the season.
One position where the Gers have had a strong battle is the left-back spot. Calvin Bassey and Borna Barisic have both started four Scottish Premiership matches each as they continue to fight to be the regular starter on the left side of Gerrard’s defence.
Bassey has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.10 with 1.8 key passes per game and 63% of his duels won. Barisic, meanwhile, has averaged a score of 7.40 with 2.3 key passes per game and 58% of his duels won, suggesting that he has a slight edge over the ex-Leicester man when it comes to creativity.
The international break has given some players a rest and others an opportunity to show Gerrard that they deserve to start against Hearts next weekend by impressing for their country. Barisic falls into the last category as he caught the eye in a 2-2 draw for Croatia against Slovakia on Monday night.
He played the full 90 minutes of their World Cup Qualifying match and was handed an impressive SofaScore rating of 7.1 for his performance. Outside of Luka Modric and Andrej Kramaric, the two goalscorers, only Marcelo Brozovic (7.6) was given a higher rating.
Defensively, he was solid. Per SofaScore, he made one clearance and two tackles as he won an eye-catching seven of his 11 duels on the pitch, including 100% of his aerial battles. Along with this, he was not dribbled past once in the entire game, showing that he didn’t allow himself to be beaten easily down the flank.
In possession, Barisic was excellent. The Croat completed 96% of his passes, including four of his five attempted long passes. The left-back was also successful with 100% of his attempted dribbles and created one chance for his teammates, as he enjoyed 85 touches of the ball on the night.
This shows that he was superb in possession and efficient with his passing selection, whilst he was also able to beat his man with his athleticism to get the side up the pitch.
His performance will surely have caught Gerrard’s eye ahead of Rangers’ clash with Hearts this weekend. Barisic’s excellent display for Croatia may well have secured his place in the starting XI ahead of Bassey too.