This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Borna Barisic has done enough in pre-season training to earn a second chance at Rangers under Steven Gerrard, according to Football Insider.
The 26-year-old’s performances while on pre-season in Portugal and at the Hummel Training Centre have shown Gerrard he can be trusted in the famous light blue jersey. The club has abandoned plans to offload the Croat as they make him their first-choice left-back going into the new season, per the report.
Barisic had been a target for French side Dijon, according to Soccerlink.fr, but it looks like he’s earned himself some more time at the Premiership side, despite a very underwhelming first season.
Gerrard was also angered by his decision to play for Croatia while carrying an injury, though it seems that is now water under the bridge thanks to an impressive pre-season.
The 26-year-old must now use the reported reprieve and really assert himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet. In Andy Halliday and Jon Flanagan, he has decent competition, but neither are proper left-backs who are going to rip the opportunity out of his grasp.
Halliday is a midfielder by trade and the former Liverpool man is more comfortable on the right-hand side of the defence, so it’s all set up for the Croatian to succeed.
With that in mind, Barisic should really be looking to double that measly 22 appearances from last season, especially if the club makes progress in Europe.
And with his excellent left-foot, which was once likened to Lionel Messi’s magical left peg (seriously, that’s not a joke), he should also be aiming to match James Tavernier’s assist output on the opposite flank. The Englishman set up 20 goals for his teammates last term, but Barisic only mustered up six assists.
He got off to a good start to the season against St. Joseph’s, assisting twice in the Europa League match, but needs to get on the park more than last season if he wants to repay his manager’s show of faith.
Second chances in football don’t come around that often, and it’s now up to Barisic to prove Gerrard is right to hand him another bite at the apple.