Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard cannot make his mind up about his best starting XI, but perhaps I can help him decide some of his options.
It would mean that Gerrard would have to change his tactics for Rangers to become a much more consistent side than he has currently.
The line-up is to provide added cover at the back to stop losing too many goals from punts up the park, crosses, free kicks and corners.
Personally, I think James Tavernier is prone to being caught out of position far too often, therefore playing him at right-wing-back eliminates a lot of his and Rangers’ ongoing problems.
It also gives the wideman more freedom to hurt teams with his attacking prowess, the dangerous crosses and his undoubted scoring ability.
Allan McGregor: Conner Goldson, Nikola Katic, Joe Worrall: James Tavernier, Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara, Ryan Kent: Scott Arfield: Alfredo Morelos, Jermain Defoe
The above team looks very much like a 3-4-1-2 line-up, but I want Rangers to play in an extremely fluent way throughout each match.
This can be achieved by using the exact same players, but frequently changing the tactics to confuse your opponents, and present them with different problems.
At Ibrox for example, the team could start with a 3-1-4-2 set up:
Then after 10 – 15 minutes, swap Jack with Kamara, so he can get forward more, and possibly play Kent further up the left wing for example.
If Rangers are playing well and managing to keep the ball, and moving it about quickly, then push Arfield up to playing the vital number 10 role of just behind the two forwards.
In hindsight, Gerrard should probably keep Arfield perfecting the number 10 role, playing directly behind the forwards.
This way Arfield would score more goals and also gain more assists, by laying them off for others to score.
Last Wednesday at Ibrox, Arfield and the Rangers side benefited greatly from the manager’s tactical move to push him into the No.10 position in the Hearts game.
He played brilliantly and scored a well-taken goal in the 3-0 win at Ibrox and followed it up at Fir Park on Sunday at Motherwell, by scoring three.
Gerrard’s decision to play the same way against Motherwell, really struck gold when Arfield scored his first professional hat-trick in senior football.
This is the one position that needs to be filled at Ibrox this summer, the No.10 role, where Josh Windass was a major success by scoring 18 goals in 41 games in that position.
Windass being sold cheaply, inevitably produced a hole for most of the Rangers season, as Gerrard struggled to fill it properly.
Does Gerrard already have such a playmaker signed to Rangers and he just hasn’t realised it yet?
There is a possibility that he has four on his books already.
Greg Docherty has scored nine goals (so far), in League One for Shrewsbury in England.
He is playing regular football against very experience professionals, and he has loads of assists to his name.
Arfield who has scored 11 goals, playing in many different positions in the Rangers midfield.
Arfield could be too versatile a player for his own good, so give him the last five league games in the 10 position to see how it goes.
Glenn Middleton, who scored two terrific goals for Rangers reserves against a very strong Hibernian side on Monday, may also have the talent to do himself justice.
He is usually played on the left wing, so let’s try this talented boy in the No. 10 role in the hole – to see if he can make this position his own.
Middleton has a trick or two up his sleeve, has an eye for goals and has pace to burn – why not try him in the reserve side first?
Josh McPake is my long-term tip to become a Rangers first team player within the next two seasons, and guess what he considers is his best role? The No. 10 position!
In spite of the egregious referees in Scotland, it is worth taking a chance to play some young players in the Rangers team, over the next few years.
But they will require some protection from better refereeing decisions.
Josh is also an accomplished winger who won the “Academy Player of the Year” award, quite an achievement for a young 17-year-old rookie.
I would have loved to find a regular starting place for Steve Davis, who is showing his true worth in a Rangers jersey.
Especially now that he has reached his full match fitness, but you simply cannot play everybody, and I know Gerrard likes Jack and Kamara in his starting side.
Ross McCrorie, Borna Barisic, Daniel Candeias, Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty, are all unlucky to start, but the season is a long one.
At every free kick and corner, Rangers should line up with Goldson, Katic, Worrall all marking the oppositions tallest and best headers of the ball.
And use Tavernier, Jack, Kamara, and Morelos to also defend the danger.
I would utilise Arfield on the 18-yard line to contest the ball, if it falls anywhere near that spot.
Place Kent and Defoe much further up the park for two reasons.
- If a Rangers player get his foot to the ball first, hit it up the park immediately towards Kent and Defoe to try and give them the opportunity to create something.
2. With two fast players like Kent and Defoe playing on the halfway line to keep themselves onside, the opposition with use three men to guard against the quick breakaway goal.