Rangers take on their Old Firm rivals at Ibrox on Sunday and Steven Gerrard should axe Ianis Hagi for the game, as the Romania international has been far from his best in recent weeks.
Although the 22-year-old has enjoyed a solid campaign overall, contributing six goals and nine assists in 29 Premiership appearances, resulting in a 6.93 average WhoScored rating, his recent performances have been nowhere near that level.
Hagi’s last goal for Rangers came in the 3-0 win against St Mirren in early March, and he has failed to contribute a goal or assist in the league since then, whilst he also struggled in the cup defeat against St Johnstone last time out before his 68th-minute withdrawal.
Indeed, as per WhoScored ratings, he hasn’t exceeded a 7/10 since the aforementioned St Mirren clash, even registering a lowly 5.95 in the recent win over Hibernian.
He is also competing with Joe Aribo on the right wing, with the Nigeria international having shown that he is capable of playing there or in central midfield at a high level this season, as his average WhoScored rating of 7.40/10 in the Premiership ranks him as the joint-second best player in Gerrard’s squad so far this campaign.
The former Charlton Athletic man was also instrumental in Rangers’ most recent win against Celtic in the Scottish Cup, as he embarrassed Diego Laxalt down the right-hand side before sending in a dangerous cross for Jonjoe Kenny to turn into his own net, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start out wide again at Ibrox on Sunday.
Hagi, meanwhile, has regularly been left on the bench against the Hoops in the past, making just two appearances against them in his career thus far, in which he has failed to contribute a goal or an assist, so perhaps Gerrard feels that the physicality of the fixture doesn’t suit the former Genk man.
Although the manager dubbed the 22-year-old an “outstanding talent” last season after his starring performance against Braga at Ibrox, it seems as if he doesn’t trust him to be as impressive in Old Firm derbies. Given that Hagi has been pretty poor in recent weeks, Gerrard should axe him from his starting line-up on Sunday.