Five Rangers players to watch in 2021
For Rangers supporters, 2021 promises to be the year when the long wait for their club to return to its previously accustomed place in the winners’ enclosure of Scottish football finally comes to an end.
Scotsman Sport has picked out five players who appear poised to make a significant contribution over the next 12 months for Steven Gerrard’s side.
The Swiss international striker had a slow-burning start to his Rangers career following his £2.7 million move from St Gallen in August, initially lacking match fitness and sharpness.
But the 6ft 2ins front man, while largely restricted to substitute appearances in the first half of the season, has steadily displayed evidence of the qualities which persuaded Rangers to make a considerable investment in his recruitment.
Itten has the versatility to play anywhere across the three-man forward line in Gerrard’s 4-3-3 set-up, combining physicality with his eye for a pass and a natural scoring instinct.
When Scottish football dishes out its Player of the Year awards in May, who would bet against Rangers captain Tavernier making a clean sweep of all the major individual prizes?
The right-back has enjoyed a phenomenal run of form so far this season – not only in his remarkable return of goals and assists, but also in his contribution to a miserly Rangers defence.
It would be a surprise if Rangers do not have to rebuff interest from English clubs in Tavernier when the January transfer window opens but the 29-year-old will be in no rush to leave a club where he is now on the verge of becoming a trophy-winning skipper.
The English defender, who celebrates his 21st birthday on Hogmanay, was the lowest profile of Rangers’ eight signings during the last transfer window but could prove to be one of the shrewdest pieces of business the club have done for some time.
Bassey, snapped up on a free transfer from Leicester City’s development squad, has already shown he could be a more than able deputy at left-back for Borna Barisic should the outstanding Croatian international be tempted away from Rangers any time soon.
Physically imposing but also comfortable in possession, Bassey also looks equally adept in central defence.
It’s a huge second half of the campaign for the South African international midfielder who completed his move to Rangers from Amiens on transfer deadline day in October on an initial season-long loan.
The option to sign him on a permanent basis has been agreed with the French club and the initial evidence suggests it is one Rangers will look to pursue. Zungu has impressed on his appearances so far, looking assured in possession and ideally suited to the style of play instilled by Gerrard.
A cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in pre-season has prevented the Croatian international central defender from playing any part so far in a potentially momentous campaign for Rangers.
But the 24-year-old is on course to return to action in the New Year and will be a hugely welcome addition to the selection options at Gerrard’s disposal in 2021. While Leon Balogun and Filip Helander have both performed well as central defensive partners for mainstay Connor Goldson in recent months, Katic could re-emerge as a regular at the heart of Rangers’ back four.
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