Rangers are set to play their final match in the group stages of the Europa League tonight after Giovani van Bronkhorst’s Ibrox giants qualifyed for the knockout stages in their last game.
The Dutchman’s side sealed their place in the last 32 with a 2-0 win over Sparta Prague and now face Lyon in France in what is essentially a dead-rubber tie for both teams.
This means that the 43-year-old Gers boss could use this match as a chance to take a closer look at his squad and try out new players and combinations on the pitch.
One player who should be given an opportunity to impress the Dutchman is central midfielder Juninho Bacuna, who joined from Huddersfield in the summer.
Van Bronckhorst must unleash the Curaçao international as he has the potential to be a game-changer for the club and this match could provide him with valuable minutes to get him back up to speed. He has only made one appearance since the ey-Feyenoord boss arrived at the club and may need game time before being able to play to the maximum of his abilities.
His only display for the new coach was an impressive one as he caught the eye off the bench against Dundee in the Premiership last weekend. As per SofaScore, he won four of his four duels on the pitch, completed all three of his attempted dribbles and created one chance in just ten minutes of action.
This highlights the level of quality he can potentially bring to Rangers, with his ability to take players on with the ball before creating openings for others all whilst competing on the physical side of the game. He can change a match with his play in the final third, as his dribbling and playmaking can make things happen for the Gers.
Ex-Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard hailed him as a ‘powerful boy’ earlier this year, explaining what he can add to the squad. The retired midfielder said:
“He is a really big talent, everyone should be really excited and really looking forward to seeing him play.
“We have to be patient with him, but he just needs the right support around him, the right environment to keep progressing and growing and I believe we have got the right staff and the right players in the dressing room for that.
“He is an attacking midfielder, he has got good range of passing and he is a powerful boy so he has got a lot of tools in his locker so if he can put everything around that and we can give him the right place to evolve then he should be a big player for this club.”
The £17k-per-week gem also started in a 4-2 win over Ross County earlier this season and picked up a goal and an assist from midfield, whilst winning seven of his 13 duels. This further illustrates his potential to be a game-changer for Rangers and why van Bronckhorst must unleash him against Lyon.