Glasgow Rangers outcast Brandon Barker didn’t take very long to get off the mark for his new club Oxford United.
It only took two appearances for the former Manchester City left winger to find the back of the net.
Barker, shipped out on loan last month by Rangers after falling out of favour under Steven Gerrard, made his debut against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon and followed that up with his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers to send the Ibrox boss a timely reminder of his obvious potential.
His ability has never been called into question but for whatever reason he has so far largely been unable to translate his performances on the training pitch into competitive first-team action.
With the last kick of the game, the 24-year-old left forward helped to secure a vital three points for Karl Robinson’s side, leaving Cameron Brannagan shaking his head in admiration for his fellow Mancunian.
He said, in quotes provided by The Oxford Mail: “He’s a good kid, I’ve known him for a while now and played for England with him when I was younger. He’s from Manchester so we’ve always knew each other through friends.
“He’s going to bring a lot to the table. He’s not played in a while but once he gets up and running, it’s good for the side, there’s going to be a lot of competition and I think that’ll push people to the limits and that’s what we want,” he added.
“He’s a top player and a top kid so hopefully he’ll show everybody what he can do.”
Barker picked up the ball on the edge of the box before shifting the ball onto his left boot and firing a powerful shot past the hapless keeper.
James Henry’s injury at the start of the second half forced Oxford to be more defensive in the closing stages of the game but Barker still posed a real threat as he came off the bench to complete two successful dribbles from two attempts, which suggests that he managed to get the better of the opposition.
Despite taking just 18 touches during his 31 minutes, he also produced 10 out of 14 passes at a pass success rate of 71%, implying that he tried to set his side on the front foot as often as possible. He only lost control of the ball four times, which implies that, more often that not, he was successful in his endeavours.
In stark contrast, Ryan Kent struggled to make much of an impression as Rangers were held by Hamilton Academical at Ibrox, with the 24-year-old losing possession 17 times.
Kent additionally only won four out of 19 duels in total, which was lower than his season’s average of 4.5 per game, but is now Gerrard’s only recognised left-winger after Barker, Jordan Jones and Glenn Middleton left the club on short-term loan deals.
With the former Liverpool man having played 27 out of a possible 28 games in the Scottish Premiership this season thus far, perhaps their over-reliance on Kent is beginning to take its toll, and Barker’s latest display will only remind Gerrard that he may have been a little bit hasty in sending him out on loan.