Michael Beale on returning to 'different' Rangers and how Ryan Kent has 'paid back' his £7.5m transfer fee
The new manager concedes that the players are “in a different place mentally” than when he departed for Aston Villa 13 months ago with the Ibrox side defending league champions and sitting top of the table.
And Beale believes only when the team takes to the field against Hibs on Thursday night will the picture crystallise on the job he has taken on.
He said: “It’s not the group I left. It’s fair to say that. We had just lost one in 52 in the league so we were in a different place mentally at that time. I won’t really know where it’s at until we take the field on the 15th. I can do all the talking now, all the good work behind the scenes.
“But the proof is get out on the pitch and face some trauma and see how they react.”
Beale also conceded that he could make no guarantees that Ryan Kent would stay at Rangers beyond the summer but hailed the winger as “one of the best players in the league”.
He added: “He is one of the players I came back to Rangers to work with because we have such a good relationship. If it’s six months, if it's six years – well, I don’t know how long I’m going to be here (either).
“Ryan has been so committed here. One or two things have been said about the fee paid for him but he has been here a long time now and he has certainly paid that back by being part of a team that won a league, God knows how many European games, got to a Europa League Final and played in the Champions League. A lot is written about certain players but Ryan is one of the best players in this league.”
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