At the start of the season Rangers midfielder, Ianis Hagi probably would not have thought that he would be desperate for a start in the League Cup.
After falling out of favour in recent weeks, Sunday’s trip to face League One leaders Falkirk presents a wonderful opportunity for the Romanian to remind Steven Gerrard of his quality.
Hagi made a fast start to the season and quickly racked up one goal and six assists in the Scottish Premiership, but he last started a match against Lech Poznan in late October.
A player with obvious quality on the ball, he has fallen foul of the strength in depth in this Rangers squad, with Gerrard possessing an embarrassment of riches in midfield.
Steven Davis, Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Glen Kamara have all been in excellent form and with the move away from a 4-2-3-1 system, Hagi has been the odd man out. While the 22-year-old is best in the number 10 role, he can play wide but has now been overtaken in the pecking by Kemar Roofe and the versatile Aribo.
A look at the statistics show that Hagi has been performing well. In 13 Scottish Premiership appearances, he has averaged 2.2 shots, 1.6 key passes and 0.7 dribbles per game, while also completing 81.7% of the 46.7 passes he has attempted on average per 90 minutes (via WhoScored).
Unfortunately for Hagi though, he just is not quite the right fit for this current Rangers side. Arfield and Aribo have been providing goals from midfield, while Roofe has adjusted well to his new right-wing position, striking up a nice understanding with Alfredo Morelos.
At this stage, the Romanian international’s only option is to impress when given the chance and that will likely come on Sunday.
Likely starting alongside a number of others on the edge of the starting 11, the Falkirk cup tie gives Hagi a timely opportunity to remind Gerrard and the Rangers fan base of his unique qualities.
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