The Teddy Bears lost all six of their group games with a shocking goal difference of -20 to crash out of Europe, just a few months after their memorable journey to the Europa League final.
One criticism of the Gers side is the lack of investment in the team that did so brilliantly in Europe last season, as after the likes of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey were sold for big money, Rangers spent very little and ended up with a very similar side to one of recent, uninspiring seasons.
The prime example of this is perhaps the fact that Steven Davis was still starting in midfield at the age of 37, as while the Northern Irishman will no doubt go down as a legend at Ibrox, he shouldn’t be trusted to start such important games in Europe anymore, as was emphasised by his performance.
As per SofaScore, the veteran midfielder would earn a 6.8/10 rating for his performance against the Dutch champions but was hauled off by Van Bronckhorst after an hour as he struggled to cope with the quality of Ajax’s midfield.
In the Premiership this season, Davis has averaged a strong pass success rate of 89.4% but clearly couldn’t cope with the increased ability of the opponent as he registered just an 84% success rate on Tuesday night.
The former Southampton man also offered absolutely nothing going forward, as he failed to contribute a single shot, dribble or key pass during his time on the pitch, whereas Ajax’s midfielders would manage four shots on target and two key passes between them, which again emphasises the difference in quality.
Daily Mail journalist Calum McClurkin did not hold back in his criticism of the ageing midfielder on Twitter, saying:
“Steven Davis towing a caravan in midfield. Just too over the hill at this level. Patched-up defence simply can’t cope. Rangers decimated with injuries but the summer transfer window has left them woefully ill-equipped for Champions League group stage football.”
Van Bronckhorst didn’t have too many other options in midfield to choose from on Tuesday night but did bring Glen Kamara off the bench, and surely the Finland international would have been the better choice to try and deal with the technicality and speed of Ajax’s midfield.
Should Rangers reach the Champions League again anytime soon, the Gers must not make the same mistake and invest properly in the squad, as there is no way that a 37-year-old Davis should be starting at such a high level of competition, regardless of what he has done for the club in the past.