Ben Davies addresses Rangers exit rumour, his stance on Michael Beale, and avoiding 'rabbit hole'
The Englishman was rumoured to be on his way out of Ibrox amid reports that the club were pursuing a loan move for Leicester City centre-back Harry Souttar during the transfer window. Neither materialised, with Rangers turning down a deadline-day loan bid from Stoke City for Davies, who still has three years remaining on the contract he signed when making a £4m move from Liverpool last summer. The 28-year-old had been a peripheral figure this season until being handed his first start of the campaign in the 2-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Saturday, but he says he never felt on the verge of departing.
“I don’t think so," he said. "I’m not sure what was said above me but as far as I was concerned I was a Rangers player and I wasn’t looking to move. My priority over the summer was getting fit and getting back in the team, which I did up in Perth.
“The manager said I was an important part of what he was looking to do going forward. So I took that in and made sure I went and got myself fit. He’s played me today, so… I think the manager has shown a lot of faith in me since he’s been here. I think it’s time I repaid that and put some good performances in."
Danilo, who suffered a fractured cheekbone in the act of scoring the opener, and Rabbi Matondo were on target as Rangers got back to winning ways against Saints. The result eased some of the pressure on Beale and his team following the damaging defeats to Celtic and PSV Eindhoven prior to the international break that brought the critics out in force.
“I back the manager," Davies added. "I’ve got 100 percent faith in him that we can have a good season this year. There’s a long way to go and I think he just needs people like me and others to put in strong performances for him. Hopefully we can do that going forward.
“When you win for this club you’re really good but when you lose, you have to stick together. I don’t look too much into what people say. They are pundits and Press, so they are doing their job. But if you look too much into what people say you end up going down a rabbit hole and it affects you eventually. The best way to handle that situation is just to block everything out and take on a bit of a siege mentality."
Rangers now begin their Europa League campaign at home to Real Betis on Thursday night and Davies is hopeful of being involved.
“It’s a good game for us. We’re looking forward to it, especially after Saturday’s game. Obviously I’m not sure what the manager’s going to do with the team but we’ve worked well over the international break with the players he had and he decided to go with the team he had at Perth.
“All you can do is put in the performance and keep the clean sheet, so I’m happy. I felt good fitness wise. My lungs felt good. I’ve been working hard since coming back from the injury. I’ve definitely got a point to prove going forward and I thought I’d start proving that point on Saturday - but obviously I’ve got a lot more work to do.
“With last season going the way it did, my focus over the summer was to come back in and put in a better year for Rangers. Hopefully now that I’ve made my first start of the season I can go on and do that.
“I need to improve on my consistency, being more of a leader, making sure I cement my place in the defence and hopefully if I do that I can repay the faith they showed in me last summer when they brought me in."
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