Alfredo Morelos: Roy Makaay influence, transfer asset and stats behind Rangers ace's resurgence

Earlier this month Rangers fans were able to witness Alfredo Morelos’ hunger to score a goal in a 3-0 win over Dundee at Ibrox.

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Scott Arfield played a pass to the Colombian situated in the opposition box, backing into Ryan Sweeney. Jordan Marshall made an intervention but as the ball spun Morelos was quick to gather it, bundling his way past both Sweeney and Liam Fontaine before scoring.

That was the first of four league goals in the past five matches.

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Since Giovanni van Bronckhorst walked through the door there has been an improvement to the striker’s game with six goals in total. He has been more dangerous, more involved and more productive.

Compared to his league average from this season, the 615 minutes Morelos has played under the Dutchman has witnessed an upturn in everything from shots to xG, to passes and passes received, and shot assists to touches in the opposition box.

Former Rangers star Brian Laudrup, writing in his Daily Mail column, pinpointed the arrival of former Deportivo La Coruna and Bayern Munich striker Roy Makaay as part of Van Bronckhorst’s coaching team.

"The presence of Roy Makaay is a fascinating factor," he said. "I don't think you can underestimate the value of having individuals like that on the coaching staff. They bring something unique.

"For an attacking player such as Morelos, you are training beside someone who knows everything there is to know about scoring goals. He understands the pressure. He accepted it in every game when he was operating up front for Bayern Munich and Holland at the peak of his career.

"Makaay has been there. He knows. So when he says something, you'd be foolish not to listen. I'm only considering things from the outside, but surely there has been a particular benefit where Morelos is concerned."

Front and centre

The Colombian is the type of player that needs to be involved, to be able to compete with and engage opponents, to see plenty of the ball. There are some players who enjoy being on the periphery of games before bursting into life. Morelos isn’t one of them. He needs to be front and centre.

Team-mates are finding him more regularly. Since Van Bronckhorst’s arrival he has been getting the ball on average just over 31 times a match, up on his season average in the league. While he is attempting one more shot and getting one more touch in the box per 90 minutes, he is showing a selfless side, providing 2.34 shots assists per 90 minutes, up from 1.64.

For Laudrup, Morelos' form has been hugely encouraging, both for Rangers on the field but also as a transfer asset off of it.

The Dane admitted it “was miserable to watch” the striker at times this season but he has noticed a big difference.

"I said at the time that Van Bronckhorst would have to be both motivator and coach to stir Morelos back into life," he said. “A new kind of input was needed to restore him as an asset to Rangers, both on the pitch and in the transfer market.

"Look at Morelos now. Six goals in eight games since Van Bronckhorst arrived. A proper focal point for the attack once more. Whatever is being said behind the scenes is hitting the right spot.”

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