Rangers boss admits 'he didn't know what he was getting' with Ben Davies but lauds new partnership

Rangers manager Michael Beale has hailed the contribution of Ben Davies.Rangers manager Michael Beale has hailed the contribution of Ben Davies.
Rangers manager Michael Beale has hailed the contribution of Ben Davies.
Michael Beale was in his first spell at Rangers when the Ibrox club were considering buying Ben Davies, then starring at centre-half for Preston North End.

Then Liverpool suffered an injury crisis and the player headed to Anfield. “We would have been gazumped!” said Beale, who is thrilled to finally work with Davies at Ibrox now he’s returned to Govan as manager. “I was delighted to receive him but obviously he was out injured for three or four weeks,” said Beale. "I didn’t really know what I was getting! But he is doing well.”

Davies’ spell at Liverpool had not gone as well as planned, which allowed Rangers to re-ignite their initial interest. The defender has found settling in at Ibrox hard at times too due to niggling injuries. But now, with a fit-again Connor Goldson next to Davies in the middle of the defence, Beale believes the latest significant and successful centre-half pairing at Ibrox is emerging. It has already helped underpin a twelve-game unbeaten run under the new manager.

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Goldson has been the constant factor in recent central defensive partnerships of note at Rangers. His return from injury prior to Christmas helped steady the ship. Giovanni van Bronckhorst might well still be in a job had Goldson not suffered a hamstring injury in the Champions League against Liverpool. Rangers’ season went from bad to worse without Goldson. Davies, too, was out injured, along with long-term centre-half casualties John Souttar and Filip Helander. "In my first game we had two midfielders at centre half!" recalled Beale.

Rangers have not looked back since Goldson returned to the side for the 3-2 win over Aberdeen in December. He was reunited with Davies in the next game at Ross County and the pair have played every match since. “It’s all about partnerships, isn’t it?” said Beale. “I think centre half is all about the partnership. Connor Goldson has built big partnerships here during his time. First of all with Niko Katic, then with Helander and then a really strong partnership with (Leon) Balogun. He built another one with (Calvin) Bassey and now he’s building one with Davies.”