Rangers confirmed the signing of 19-year-old Liverpool starlet Jordan Rossiter yesterday on a four-year deal.
Here’s all you need to know about the latest Ibrox arrival.
He played for both Brendan Rogers and Jurgen Klopp
Rossiter has only played five times for Liverpool but he’s came up against some strong opponents. After making his first start against Middlesbrough in the League Cup in 2014, a match in which he scored, he then featured in games against Arsenal, Bordeaux and Sion (twice). His inclusion against teams on the continent was an indication that, in the early part of the tournament at least, Liverpool might not have been taking the Europa League all that seriously, though the players he was squaring off against certainly would have been and he equipped himself well.
He was compared to Steven Gerrard
Rossiter’s Liverpool career was probably doomed the minute Robbie Fowler tweeted about him saying the youngster could be the “next Stevie G”. Why ex-pros insist on putting this kind of expectation on a teenager is anyone’s guess, and it’s fair to say Rossiter didn’t live up to that hype.
He’ll fit into Mark Warburton’s system
Liverpool fans watching the player at the first team level weren’t all that impressed with his technical ability, but there’s a massive difference between holding your own in that department with an English Premier League side and doing so in Scotland’s top tier. He can control and pass the ball with both feet and, crucially to the way Rangers play, he’s great at finding space, both for himself to receive the ball and to find team-mates with a pass. Warburton’s system is all about sharp, quick passing and moving, and Rossiter should do well.
He’s slight but tenacious
Rangers fans will be wondering if he’s the long-term answer at defensive midfield or if he’ll play alongside Jason Holt a little further forward. Time will tell on that one. He does has the ability to play the role, especially against some of the less physical sides in the top tier. He’s got a slight frame and will be looking to bulk up over the next four seasons, but he’s a tenancious battler and will add a bit of steel to the Ibrox engine room. He’s also got a great range of passing, which could come in handy if he sits ahead of the back four. Rangers obviously aren’t going to start shelling balls forward, but if you can ping an accurate diagonal or two and catch your opponent cold then it’s a fine tactic to use.
He’s got a strong character
Liverpool fans loved how honest and grounded he came across in interviews. He said all the right things without indulding in a game of player-cliche bingo. He also wasn’t afraid to try and lead on the park when playing for the first team, despite being the youngster player there. In his debut against Middlesbrough, fans were impressed to see him shouting instructions to his central defensive midfielder partner, the experienced Brazilian international Lucas.
He’s had injury issues
Rossiter may not have made the grade at Anfield regardless, but his bid to stake a regular place in the first team wasn’t helped by a groin injury he sustained exactly a week after his debut. He then suffered another momentum-halting setback late last year when a hamstring injury put paid to his chances of establishing himself in the first team squad after his Europa League appearances. Rangers will be hoping this was just bad luck at the worst possible time and not an indication of a larger problem.