The former Ibrox striker certainly believes game-time for one midfielder that Giovanni van Bronckhorst has at his disposal has been all-too-limited of late. But the player in question isn’t the January loan signing from Juventus but Rangers stalwart Steven Davis.
The Northern Ireland international enjoyed his longest run-out for more than three months in his club’s 4-0 win away to St Mirren weekend after replacing the injured John Lundstrum only 24 minutes in. Only a second out since for the 37-year-old since late January following a knee problem, the Spaniard is convinced the Rangers manager should now turn to Davis as his old club look to salvage significant returns from an erratic season. Novo won every honour at Ibrox in his six years with the club from 2004. He was the Scottish Cup final matchwinner when Rangers last won the trophy in 2009, and is forever remembered for the shoot-out conversion over Fiorentina in 2008 that took Walter Smith’s men into the UEFA Cup decider that year. As Rangers look to replicate those feats in the next six weeks, notably Nacho doesn’t pitch for Ramsey to feature in the midfield trio he would select for the Europa League quarter-final second leg at home to Braga on Thursday, wherein they will seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit. Three days later Rangers will meet Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden. The competition now offers them their most realistic chance of domestic silverware after last weekend’s derby defeat left them trailing Ange Postecoglou’s men by six points with only the five post-split fixtures to come.
Davis would make the 700th appearance of his 18-year senior career were he to feature against Braga, but Novo seems to suggest there is no reason he can’t add plenty more to that tally in believing he remains without equal at the club despite his advanced years. “I’m surprised he’s not played a bit more under Giovanni. To be honest, he is the best midfielder at Rangers,” said Novo of his former team-mate. “There’s no doubt about it – he can still go. He is so fit he can probably play till 40.
“He is a great player. I don’t know what happens on the training ground or what Gio sees so I can’t comment on why he’s not played so much. But if it was down to me – he would play every game. He has years left in him. He is fit and dictating games. He is a great player. But then maybe I’d need to ask him first because the last time I played I just remember an 18-year-old boy running past me … I think he is a great player and is getting better because of the experience he has. He has played in the best leagues and I think he will have a big part to play in the remainder of the season. I’d like to see him beside Ryan Jack. I love Ryan Jack. And probably Glen Kamara. For me that would be the three. The good thing is they have good options in there.”