Steven Gerrard faces Alfredo Morelos selection dilemma for Rangers' trip to St Johnstone
There was a time when Rangers manager Steven Gerrard would barely have to think about whether Alfredo Morelos should go straight back into his starting line-up after serving a ban.
But as the Colombian international striker returns to the squad after sitting out the last two games through suspension, his status as an automatic first pick is no longer assured.
Gerrard has much to ponder ahead of Wednesday night’s trip to face St Johnstone where he hopes to maintain momentum in the title race by racking up an 11th straight victory in the Premiership.
Kemar Roofe now looks to have nailed down a regular starting spot, the English forward scoring twice in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Motherwell at Ibrox which leaves Rangers 16 points clear of both Celtic and Aberdeen at the top of the table.
Swiss international striker Cedric Itten, who stepped off the bench to head home the crucial second goal against Motherwell, is also making an increasingly strong case to start more games.
"That is why we spent the money on those players,” reflected Gerrard. “We knew at the end of last season we had to make changes and bring in players that are capable of stepping up at big moments.
"Kemar was outstanding against Motherwell - his two finishes were very similar but great movement in the box and on his weak side twice. And Cedric does what he does - he is a bit of a pest, a bit of a nuisance and he chases lost causes. It was a fantastic header at the back post to put us in front.”
Gerrard will still be tempted to reintroduce Morelos nonethless, appreciating as he does the work the 24-year-old does off the ball when dropping deep from the number nine role to drag opposition defenders out of position.
But there’s no doubt Morelos is in need of a return to scoring form. He has only managed two goals in his last 14 appearances for Rangers and none in his last six. He hasn’t scored in the Premiership since the 2-2 draw against Hibs at Easter Road in September.
It all leaves Gerrard with a decision to make amid welcome options he simply didn’t have last season.
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