Rangers’ pre-season is now well underway ahead of Europa League qualifying kicking off against FC Shkupi next week.
Steven Gerrard is at the helm and has been busy putting his new players through their paces – with some of the squad saying it’s one of the hardest pre-seasons they’ve ever been involved in.
While qualification for the Europa League should be high on the agenda for Rangers, it’s improvements domestically that must be made after Celtic took home another treble last term.
And there’s no doubt much more work to be done between now and Rangers kicking off their league campaign against Aberdeen on August 5th.
So with three weeks of pre-season in the bag, we bring you five big takeaways from it so far:
Josh Windass Has a Part to Play
Everything coming out of the Rangers camp suggests that Windass has got a part to play under Steven Gerrard this season. Training videos have shown Gerrard praising the midfielder, while pre-season friendlies so far have seen Windass feature heavily. Add in his dad Dean revealing that Josh is perfectly happy where he is amid speculation clubs are interested in him and you’ve got a player who looks at home at Ibrox. Gerrard will no doubt have seen the best bits of Windass over his spell at Rangers so far and will fancy being the manager to get consistency from the Englishman.
Bruno Alves Looks Finished
Based on the centre backs currently at the club, you’d find it difficult to see Alves returning from Portugal’s World Cup campaign and making an impact. Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson are Gerrard signings, while Ross McCrorie may continue to play there this season. Now Alves is being heavily linked with a move to Parma and everything points towards him ending his time at Ibrox.
Gerrard Wants a Pressing Rangers
— VidmarFF (@VidmarFF) June 24, 2018
This clip in particular from Rangers’ pre-season has got fans excited – and it shows Gerrard hammering home to his players that he wants them pressing the ball over the park this term. There will definitely be a very British feel to this Rangers side.
Glenn Middleton Could Be the Emerging Star
The young winger only joined Rangers from Norwich at the end of January, but he’s wasted no time impressing at Ibrox. Graeme Murty rated him highly before leaving the manager’s role towards the end of the season, while Gerrard has included him in all of pre-season so far. It’s worth remembering that he was important part of the Scotland Under 21 squad that went to the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament earlier this summer and that just shows how good a player Rangers have on their hands. This could be the breakthrough season for the 18-year-old.
Allan McGregor Might Just Be Number One
🙌 There will be three goalkeeper kits this season in Black, Firecracker and Yellow-Black. pic.twitter.com/b3BAkcH0pK
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 4, 2018
It’s been difficult to call who will get the number one jersey based on the pre-season friendlies so far – they’ve only played one after all. Jak Alnwick played the full 90 minutes in their friendly win against TNS this week, but you’d expect either McGregor or Wes Foderingham to get a run out against Bury on Friday night. Why do we think McGregor might be the number one? It’s a tenuous reason, but the club’s kit launch yesterday featured McGregor, Scott Arfield, James Tavernier and Ross McCrorie. The latter three are seen as hugely important parts of Gerrard’s era and have significance to the supporters too – maybe McGregor was involved in that shoot because he’s number one?