Rangers boss Michael Beale in ‘too many players’ squad assessment – hints at departures and 'quality' he wants
The Ibrox club currently have more than 30 first-team players with a number of youngsters on the fringes and seven out on loan. The bigger squad has worked due to a raft of injuries to first-team stars including Ianis Hagi, Filip Helander, John Souttar, Tom Lawrence, Ridvan Yilmaz, Kemar Roofe and Steven Davis.
“We have too many players in my opinion,” he said. “There’s a reason we’ve carried one or two more, we’ve had injury problems and we’ve had to supplement that. When I say we have too many, we have young players out on loan as well. So when pre-season starts they’re all back in the building. I want all the players to have clarity in their role in the squad and it’s difficult the more players you have.
“If I look at the top teams in the top leagues, like Arsenal at the minute, they have the most consistent eleven and I know from being at Liverpool when they won that was the case as well. When we won the league we had a core of seven or eight that play. With the amount of subs in the match day squad now I want everyone to feel engaged and involved in the squad. I want everyone to feel their best days are in front of them and to know the pecking order to get in the team and what role they’ve got.”
Beale has uncovered a core base to his squad which includes Connor Goldson, Ben Davies, James Tavernier, Malik Tillman and Ryan Kent, while there has been a reemergence for Fashion Sakala. With further January additions he wants to be able to tweak the team depending on which games “suit” certain players.
He said: “If I look at Fashion Sakala and Todd Cantwell, they’ve rotated the last few games and are completely different so they are competing for the same role but there will be certain games that suit Fashion more than Todd and vice versa so they’re aware of that because it’s been spoken about. Players like honesty and clarity and that’s my motto.
“The last few weeks only having 18 fit means I’ve not had to leave anyone out of the squad. It’s not shying away from the job, I just think every player is engaged. If you have a second team behind your first team then you probably need one more goalie and one more number 9. Within that you then have hybrid players like Hagi, Tillman, Kent, [Scott] Arfield, [Glen] Kamara, Nico Raskin. Players who don’t always play in one position, it gives you more options.
“We look for that in players, those hybrid qualities and it benefits us. We see it in the past with Calvin Bassey. We don’t need any more than that and if there are young boys around it then wonderful but we don’t want to devalue the shirt or expectations.”
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