Alfredo Morelos’ two-goal haul sealed a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League for Rangers on Thursday at Ibrox.
The Glasgow giants beat Sparta Prague 2-0 to secure a last 32 spot, finishing second behind Ligue 1 side Lyon, with one game still left to be played in the group.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst was in the Ibrox dugout for the first time and enjoyed a victory in impressive fashion as Rangers put in a superb team performance.
However, one player who did let him down in the match was winger Ryan Kent, as the former Liverpool man failed to meet his own high standards as he struggled out wide.
Coming into this match, the 25-year-old had one goal and one assist in three games since returning from injury. This included an impressive assist against Brondby, as he burst through the line before threading a pass through for Ianis Hagi to rattle in an equaliser.
Earlier this year, Nigeria international and Gers team-mate Leon Balogun, who was absent against Sparta, admitted that Kent causes ‘real problems’ in training with his ability on the ball, saying: “Who causes me real problems in training every now and then is Ryan Kent. He’s a wing wizard, my god, he’s a problem.
“There was this one goal, I think against Hamilton where he just turns the defender inside out, dropping the shoulder, dropping it again, and the guy doesn’t know where he is, so we have a few of them.”
Kent’s recent stats and these quotes from Balogun highlight the quality of player that Van Bronckhorst has at his disposal, but the winger was unable to show off his best form against Sparta.
As per SofaScore, he lost roughly 64% of his duels on the pitch, losing seven of his 11 battles on the ground and not competing for a single aerial battle. He did not make a single tackle, clearance, block or interception in the match, whilst he was also dribbled past twice.
He showed flashes of quality on the ball but was ultimately disappointing. As per SofaScore, he failed in three of his five attempted dribbles and missed one ‘big chance’ to find the back of the net, whilst also losing possession 13 times in 81 minutes. However, he did create two chances for his teammates and won two fouls.
Overall, he let Van Bronckhorst down badly. Kent did not build on his recent good form and the Dutchman will surely have been expecting more from the forward on Thursday night, with a disappointing display on show from the 25-year-old. Hopefully he will be able to bounce back with a strong showing against Livingston at the weekend.