The Chalkboard: Joe Worrall should no longer be a regular Rangers starter

On-loan Rangers centre-back Joe Worrall returned to the starting XI for the crucial Europa League clash against Villarreal at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The 21-year-old had been an unused substitute for the Scottish Premiership clash with Livingston last weekend in which his team ran out 3-0 winners, but he replaced Gareth McAuley at the heart of the defence against the La Liga outfit.

As a result the Nottingham Forest man returned to play alongside Connor Goldson, with whom he produced a formidable centre-back partnership earlier in the campaign.

On the chalkboard

It was certainly no surprise that Steven Gerrard opted to go with Worrall in the Scottish capital because of how strong he and Goldson had been previously.

While Nikola Katic may have been unavailable because of injury, the Croatian may well have found himself on the substitutes’ bench at best anyway having been part of the 4-3 defensive disaster in Rangers’ previous European clash against Spartak Moscow last month.

Worrall may not have the vast experience that McAuley does, but Gerrard placed his faith in him as the Glasgow giants looked to pick up the three points they desperately wanted to boost their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.

What happened?

The hosts may have kept a clean sheet even though they played the entire second half with 10 men following Daniel Candeias’ red card just before half-time, but Worrall was certainly shaky at points and his distribution left a lot to be desired.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was key to keeping the game goalless with some brilliant saves, and Gerrard certainly has some thinking to do when he has all four of his centre-back options available.

While he may not have been at his best against Villarreal either it seems as though Goldson is first-choice, but Worrall should no longer be considered as the automatic starter alongside him for the big matches, with McAuley deserving of his chance having not conceded a goal in 136 minutes on the pitch for the club thus far.

Have something to tell us about this article?
CLICK HERE