Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has revealed Ryan Kent is a doubt for Dundee’s visit to Ibrox on Sunday after picking up a minor knock against Royal Antwerp in the Europa League.
What’s the word?
Kent has played a key role in Rangers’ resurgence in form this season following the break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the second half of Thursday’s clash with Antwerp, Kent was caught by the outstretched leg of replacement keeper Ortwin De Wolf and appeared to be in some discomfort.
However, the 24-year-old soon had the last laugh after Abdoulaye Seck was sent off for handling his shot inside the box, with Rangers eventually coming out on top when the full-time whistle blew at the end of added time.
Speaking after the game, as cited by The Daily Record, Gerrard confirmed that Kent is a doubt for their upcoming game against Dundee.
He said: “We’ve shown the strength in depth we’ve got here. Jack has been incredible since he came back from his injury.
“I’d like to play him every minute in every game. He is that type you need, but you need to protect him from himself to make sure he’s available for key games.
“He’s now ready and fresh for the weekend. The same with Kent, who has a niggle. It’s nothing to worry about, but he’s played a lot of games.”
Gerrard should start Scott Wright
Kent has been involved in all ten of Rangers’ past games since the start of the new year, playing 88′ minutes against Kilmarnock before brilliantly inspiring them to their midweek win at Antwerp in a superb 45-minute display.
Given how much football that is in such a short space of time with little rest and perhaps his injury record needing to be taken into account, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Gerrard rotate his squad with Kent dropping to the bench.
However, in his absence, Rangers may find their attack blunted a little without three of their star men as James Tavernier and Kemar Roofe have also suffered injury setbacks.
Kent’s a true out and out left winger, that much is evident by his goals against Antwerp, so others will have to pick up the slack if he receives a well-deserved rest.
However, they may not have to look much further than new recruit Scott Wright, who is almost a like-for-like replacement for the former Liverpool forward, particularly considering his Scottish Premiership record this season.
Out of all of his new teammates, only five have averaged more key passes than Wright (1.3 for Aberdeen) this season. Fewer still have averaged more dribbles per game, with Kent (1.9) and Joe Aribo (1.8) the only ones who rank higher than Wright (1.5 for Aberdeen).
It’s no wonder his old boss Derek McInnes was in awe of his former charge, with the Aberdeen manager hailing his “outstanding” performances on the training pitch.
This is precisely why Gerrard should start Wright instead of Kent in the No.11 role against Dundee, as he could offer something a little out of the ordinary and afford one of his regular starters a rest before the return fixture against Antwerp.
AND in other news, Rangers must prioritise Leon Balogun’s new contract…