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Opinion: Gerrard benching top-class Rangers star shows Ibrox strength in depth

Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has named all-action midfielder Scott Arfield as a substitute in recent games – showing the strength in depth of the Gers midfield currently.

Previously, the Canada international had been one of the first names on the Ibrox boss’ teamsheet, but other players have jumped ahead of the 31-year-old.

Will Arfield will be frustrated and annoyed at being on the bench for the Old Firm victory as Rangers played superbly to beat Celtic 2-1 before the winter break? 

The answer is yes, but it will only spur him on to compete with Ryan Jack, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo for his place in the side.

Since the action returned, Arfield started in a changed Rangers team in the cup against Stranraer and came off the bench in the midweek win over St Mirren.

Despite not being at his very best this season, the extremely intelligent forward runs from Arfield has played a significant part in Rangers’ winning run.

He has already featured in 35 games for Gerrard’s Gers, so that tells you what the management team think of his contribution. 

With an array of scheduled games and the quality of midfield players available to Gerrard, he won’t be able to play the same XI every week.

The boss wants a fit, rested and determined Arfield to find his best form in the battle ahead for the Scottish Cup, Europa League and what everybody is hoping for, league title No. 55.

Arfield’s ability and versatility is such an asset to his boss and teammates, when he can play equally well in a midfield role or in an attacking three.

The Rangers veteran proved his talent when Gerrard turned to Arfield to cover the Steven Davis injury for several matches leading up to the win over Celtic.

Switching to cover the deeper midfield role coincided with his return to form, as he looked accomplished and comfortable in that position.

Even when he’s not at his best, Arfield is still a good man to have in your team, because he does contribute in other ways, and he can score goals.

His constant work rate, total commitment and his will to chase opponents to win the ball back, has a positive effect on the Gers players around him. 

Arfield will certainly play in plenty of Rangers matches and is clearly fighting hard to win back his place in the starting XI.

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