Glasgow Rangers crushed Celtic in a comprehensive 2-0 win at Parkhead to take all three points in the first Old Firm derby of the 2020/21 Scottish Premiership season.
For the first time since taking charge of the Ibrox outfit, it’s safe to say that Steven Gerrard isn’t exactly short of options. Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield and Steven Davis bullied their biggest rivals on the pitch, whilst Ryan Jack was a surprise substitute as Bongani Zungu was ruled out of the top of the table clash after being forced to quarantine upon his arrival in Scotland.
Competition for places isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it can cause a few headaches here and there, and it looks like there is a growing problem that could cause Gerrard a few sleepless nights.
Rangers are absolutely stacked on the right wing, that’s for sure, after the addition of Ianis Hagi in the summer and the re-emergence of Jordan Jones in recent weeks but Brandon Barker gave a good account of himself after earning a rare start on Saturday, so you can see the problem that Gerrard faces. Both full-backs Borna Barisic and James Tavernier ran riot on the flanks, combining with Barker and Ryan Kent whenever they wanted to.
Per SofaScore, the 24-year-old, who earns wages of around £10,000-per-week, received a pass accuracy rating of 85%, won four out of seven ground duels, completed one successful dribble attempt, and made two tackles, which shows that the right winger put in a defensive shift too.
He is clearly highly rated by Gerrard as he was given the chance to show what he can do against Celtic instead of Hagi and Jones, but it’ll be hard to justify spending £4m on the 13-cap Romania international if he stays on the bench.
Jones could also be in with a shout. He received praise from Gareth McAuley after fighting back from the brink of an Ibrox exit, but was benched for the trip to Celtic Park. One thing’s for sure, with all three players competing for a space in the starting XI, one unlucky contender is almost always guaranteed to miss out on the matchday squad, as it is highly unlikely that there will be two spots on the bench for one position.
The ever-reliable Kent has started every game he has played this season so far, so that rules out any of them starting on the opposite wing anytime soon. Either way, we wouldn’t want to choose between the trio, so we’re glad it’s Gerrard’s decision at the end of the day!