From Soldier Field to Windsor Park - the nine Rangers players on international duty in June
After a gruelling 65-match season, the majority of Rangers players are currently enjoying a well-earned summer break.
For nine of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first team squad, however, there is no respite in June with many of them facing up to another four games with their respective national teams.
With Ryan Jack’s withdrawal from Scotland duty because of a calf injury, there are no Ibrox representatives in Steve Clarke’s squad for their World Cup play-off and Nations League fixtures.
But there are plenty of key men for Rangers supporters to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks across both Europe and Africa.
Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo (Nigeria)
Just seven days after helping Rangers beat Hearts in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden, Bassey and Aribo were back in action on Saturday night when they both played the full 90 minutes of Nigeria’s 2-1 friendly defeat at the hands of Mexico in Arlington, Texas.
Bassey further enhanced his burgeoning reputation as he won his third cap for the Super Eagles in what was a first game in charge for their new Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro.
The 22-year-old, playing at left wing-back, produced a now trademark run and superb cross to set up Nigeria’s goal for Cyriel Dessers.
Aribo also earned praise from the Nigerian media for his display in the number 10 role.
Nigeria have another friendly against Ecuador at Soldier Field in Chicago on Thursday before starting their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with games against Sierra Leone in Abuja on June 9 and away to Mauritius on June 13.
Borna Barisic (Croatia)
Despite limping off in the latter stages of the Europa League final in Seville and then missing the Scottish Cup final, Barisic has been named in the Croatian squad for their four UEFA Nations League qualifiers.
The 29-year-old left-back will look to add to his tally of 24 caps as Zlatko Dalic’s men start their Group A1 campaign with games against Austria in Osijek on June 3, France in Split on June 6, Denmark in Copenhagen on June 10 and France in Paris on June 13.
Fashion Sakala (Zambia)
After a positive first season at Rangers, which saw him score 12 goals in 50 appearances, Sakala is in the Zambian squad bidding to reach a first Africa Cup of Nations finals tournament since 2015.
They begin their qualifying campaign with a tough away fixture against Ivory Coast on June 3 before hosting Comoros in Lusaka on June 7. Sakala will hope to add to the six goals he has scored in 17 appearances for Zambia so far.
Steven Davis and Charlie McCann (Northern Ireland)
While speculation continues over his future at Rangers where his current contract expires next month, Northern Ireland captain Davis continues his remarkable international career as he leads his country into their UEFA Nations League Group C2 campaign.
The 37-year-old will extend his all-time British record tally of 134 caps as Northern Ireland face Greece at Windsor Park on June 2, Cyprus in Larnaca on June 5, Kosovo in Pristina on June 9 and Cyprus back in Belfast on June 12.
McCann, who made four first team appearances under van Bronckhorst at Rangers, is set to make his senior Northern Ireland debut after the 20-year-old midfielder was called up for the first time by boss Ian Baraclough.
Glen Kamara (Finland)
After the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup play-offs, Finland turn their attention to the start of their UEFA Nations League GroupB3 campaign.
Rangers midfielder Kamara remains a key figure in Markku Kanerva’s squad and is set to add to his 42 caps as the Finns open with two games in Helsinki against Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 4 and Montenegro on June 7 followed by trips to face Romania in Bucharest on June 11 and the Bosnians in Zenica on June 14.
Alex Lowry and Leon King (Scotland under-21s)
Scotland’s hopes of reaching the 2023 European under-21 Championship finals are effectively over already.
But the final two Group I qualifiers against Belgium in Sint-Truiden on June 5 and Denmark in Vejle on June 10 will be significant occasions for 18-year-old duo King and Lowry who have been called up for the first time at this level by coach Scot Gemmill.
Defender King made six first team appearances for Rangers in the season just ended, while gifted midfielder Lowry scored two goals in seven outings for van Bronckhorst’s men.
They are joined in the Scotland under-21 squad by Ibrox colleagues Lewis Mayo, Stephen Kelly and Glenn Middleton who all spent the 2021-22 campaign out on loan.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.