Ryan Kent told 'he has to score more' as Rangers boss reveals why change of position won't help him

Statistics are considered the tell-all in modern football but Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst gives every impression they are misleading when assessing Ryan Kent’s output.

Rangers' Ryan Kent cuts a downbeat figures as the winger has often across a season in which his manager concedes decisive scoring moments have eluded him. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Rangers' Ryan Kent cuts a downbeat figures as the winger has often across a season in which his manager concedes decisive scoring moments have eluded him. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

It was revealed this week that the English winger is the cinch Premiership’s top performer for chances and secondary chances created with 39 in his 10 league appearances. His five assists make him top of the charts for that metric too. Yet, Kent’s displays have made him the subject of growing ire from the club’s faithful as he has appeared so often out-of-sorts this season. The Dutchman tacitly acknowledges that. And he is far from unequivocal in responding to suggestions the player’s stuttering form could be related to a brain fog enveloping him with his future shrouded in uncertainty. A result of his contract expiring in the summer as talks over extending his Ibrox stay have not produced any outcome. “You will have to ask Ryan that but I don’t think so,” said the Rangers manager.

What van Bronckhorst is asking of Kent is to make more telling contributions on the pitch. The 25-year-old’s failing is encapsulated by two goals scored at Tynecastle last month. The sumptuous strike Kent plundered there was his one and only league goal in the campaign. When Celtic winger James Forrest found the target at the arena it was his fourth top flight goal in 161 minutes of play - the same number of goals it had then taken Kent 62 league games to produce.

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"I've had a couple of players like him before as a manager,” said the Rangers manager. “He can be out of the game and then in one action he can decide a game. That's the kind of player he is with his action and speed. Sometimes he's out of the game and then he's there - getting fouled in the area for a penalty or an assist. He reminds me of a lot of players I have had as a coach. He's a player who every time he wants to train, he wants to play, his character and his energy is there still but sometimes his actions won't work or are less happening, but he will always try. He can seven times not pass his opponent but on the eighth time he will go again and the ninth and tenth time. That's the player he is. In the last years he's been quite an important player and this year he still is, but he needs to improve his assists, his positions before the goal and of course his goals. He needs to score more. The goal scored against Hearts away, those positions, he needs to be there every game a couple of times.”

Deploying Kent in a more central attacking role has been floated as a possible solution to his bluntness. It wouldn’t be, van Bronckhorst maintains. "In a couple of games in pre-season we tried to play him more inside but I think his natural position is on the wing, that's where he feels more comfortable,” said the Rangers manager. “There are moments when we might use as a no.10 but his natural position is on the wing, on the left. You always have to use players in their natural habitat to get the best out of them. We will see how the season will develop and also with Ryan, but he has to score more.”

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