Ross McCrorie was predicted to be a future Glasgow Rangers captain. Now there’s a chance he may never play for Steven Gerrard’s first team again.
The Gers boss continually raves about Ryan Jack in his defensive midfield role, but thousands of Ibrox fans disagree and many prefer McCrorie.
Could the taller, younger and fitter 21-year-old be able to compete with Jack for a regular Rangers starting place? Yes, of course.
Gers youth product McCrorie has endeared himself to the Ibrox faithful in the limited time he has played. His talented performances during his 55 games have been great over the last two seasons.
Gerrard made a similar mistake by preferring Joe Worrall, a loanee from Nottingham Forest, to replace Nikola Katic at centre-half in 2018-19, much to the annoyance of the Rangers fans.
The internet was inundated with supporters complaining about it. As soon as Katic resumed his rightful place in the side, the Gers boss was proven to be wrong to exclude him.
The jury is out again – could Gerrard be making another miscalculation with McCrorie?
With four pre-arranged friendlies and three Europa League games eagerly anticipated by the loyal Rangers supporters, an obvious comparison between Jack and McCrorie beckoned.
McCrorie is the Scotland U21 captain who has more long-term potential than Jack and wasn’t extended the courtesy of proving it to Gerrard over the next seven weeks.
Rangers’ loss is Kenny Jackett and Portsmouth’s gain, as I predict a great season ahead for the Gers youngster and the Fratton Park club, who play in England’s League One.
McCrorie explained he felt Portsmouth was the right place to continue his development, instead of opting to move to Sunderland and the Stadium of Light.
“I’m glad to get it all sorted,” he told the official Pompey website.
“I’m really happy with the move and I’m joining a big club who want to progress to the Championship. It’s a great move for all parties.
“I became aware of the interest a couple of weeks ago along with a lot of other clubs.
“Pompey was the one which stood out to me, though, after speaking to the manager.
“Sunderland came in for me and wanted me to sign, but I just felt that Pompey was the right fit.
“Sunderland came in when I was about to do a medical. They tried to sweep in and get things sorted, but I thought Pompey was the best fit.
“We just missed out last season and there is a good group of players here who are going to be up there challenging.
“I spoke to the manager, and chief executive Mark Catlin – and they were great with me.
“I was shown around and all the boys made me feel welcome. The captain shook my hand straightaway. I feel really welcome here.”
It certainly looks like McCrorie has failed to win over Gerrard’s complete confidence, given the Gers boss has sent him to the south coast on a year-long loan deal.
Rangers fans, however, are wondering why the manager has loaned the versatile youngster out before a ball is kicked in earnest, and well ahead of the first SPFL game against Hibernian at Easter Road in August?
Only Gerrard knows that answer with seven weeks still to go until the transfer window closes. McCrorie should be given the same chance as others to prove his ability.
With McCrorie joining Portsmouth so soon, he will be expected to go through another pre-season routine, which he has already fulfilled with Rangers in Glasgow and Portugal.
Gerrard couldn’t understand why Jack wasn’t picked for the last Scotland squad, but perhaps Stevie Clark doesn’t rate him that highly.
Rangers stats and results are much better when McCrorie is playing in preference to Jack, what does that prove? Apparently not enough.
That said, it is extremely difficult for me to criticise Gerrard, as I believe Rangers are lucky to have someone as influential, knowledegable, hard working and dedicated as he is proving to be.