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Sport Steven Gerrard's Rangers conundrum as Ianis Hagi and Jordan Jones debate rages ahead of Galatasaray clash

23:35  30 september  2020
23:35  30 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Off the back of nine goals in two games it's hard to think of many changes to the Rangers team ahead of Thursday's game against Galatasaray.

There's not many you could make either, with injuries decimating the Ibrox squad.

Ryan Jack and Brandon Barker returned to full training on Tuesday ahead of the game and could be involved but there's no chance for Kemar Roofe or Joe Aribo.

Cedric Itten might have fancied a start after his two goals against Motherwell but a knee injury means he's unlikely to get a game with Steven Gerrard admitting he's a major doubt.

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It means there's only really one position up for grabs in the starting XI and it comes on the right hand side of the frontline.

Ryan Kent has the left '10' position sewn up while Alfredo Morelos is a guaranteed start at centre forward in these games.

Before Sunday, you might have thought Ianis Hagi was the only option for Gerrard but Jordan Jones put in an excellent performance at Fir Park in the 5-1 win over Motherwell.

Hagi and Jones are two very different options in how they play and it all comes down to how Gerrard wants to line up in the game and his style of football against the Turkish giants.

Social media and fan's forums have been awash with debates over who the Ibrox boss should go with so Record Sport Online has looked at which one suits the game more.

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Playing on the counter

SuperLig expert Ganadei Ursanlilar believes Rangers 'will get destroyed' if they try and attack Galatasaray and that could be something that makes up Gerrard's mind.

Rangers have been a team that are solid in defence in Europe and lethal on the counter attack and immediately that points towards Jones being selected ahead of Hagi.

It was seen in Europe last season when Brandon Barker was selected ahead of other options away to Porto in a bid to hit them on the break, and even in the qualifying rounds that's how Gerrard lined up.

a person that is standing in the grass © PA

Five of Jones' 15 appearances for Rangers last season came in the qualifiers while a sixth came against Bayer Leverkusen.

His performances against Midtjylland and Legia Warsaw in particular were standouts and he created the winner for Alfredo Morelos at Ibrox in the latter.

If Gerrard goes with a counter-attacking tactic, he's got the advantage over Hagi of his style of play of being pacey and able to attack full backs on the counter attack, while the Romanian is more of a playmaker who looks for time and space.

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Jones is going into the game in confidence as well after getting his first goal for the club and it's always a big boost to a club to have a player on form.

Big game Ianis

It's fair to say that Hagi's best game for the club has come in Europe when he inspired a comeback against Braga back in February.

With the score 2-0 to the Portuguese side he turned it on it's  head with a double and was in inspired form that night. He's not quite hit the heights this season since joining on a permanent deal but he's still got the ability to be a matchwinner.

One criticism of Hagi is that he gives the ball away too much and that might be a fair one. Hagi is a player who likes to take risks and the style he plays means he's always going to give the ball away as he makes risky passes in a bid to create big opportunities.

He’s got five assists already for this season and is particularly impressive in linking up with Scott Arfield.

There's also something about Hagi that stats can't judge and that's the fact he is a big game player. Gerrard has spoken about how European nights are his thing and although he wants more consistency from him, that could be why he brings him back into the starting lineup.

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Earlier this month, he spoke about Hagi to say: "He does thrive on big European nights but I want him to thrive on every game. I want him to be consistent. When you're a young player and you're growing and evolving, then you have to strive for consistency."

Predicted lineup

The only other potential change that could come for Rangers is seeing Jack return to the starting lineup. The midfielder is a player who is vital to Rangers defensively and although they won 4-0 away to Willem II last week, you could see they didn't always win the midfield battle.

Glen Kamara is also key on the European stage, as is Steven Davis but Scott Arfield has been singled out by Gerrard for his performances in recent weeks.

Jack's role in the middle of the park allows Davis to play his natural deep-lying game and also provides support for James Tavernier and Borna Barisic.

Gerrard is likely to go with Allan McGregor in goal, with his usual back four of Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Filip Helander and Borna Barisic.


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MARK WILSON AT IBROX: Rangers remain imperious in this domain. Each year, the opposition barring their path has improved. Each year, Gerrard and his players have found a way through.Rangers remain imperious in this domain. Each year, the opposition barring their path has improved. Each year, Steven Gerrard and his players have navigated a way through.

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This is interesting!