Ibrox View: Huge pressure on 28y/o that 'will be playing' v Lech Poznan
South African international Bongani Zungu has had to wait a long time for his opportunity at Rangers, but he could be about to get it.
COVID-19 protocols and injuries have limited him to just four appearances and one start since his arrival in October (via WhoScored), but speaking at his press conference on Wednesday, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard confirmed that he would be involved against Lech Poznan.
“Bongani will be playing tomorrow and it is a fantastic opportunity for him to perform,” he said (via Rangers).
In his short time on the pitch this season Zungu has impressed, with his range of passing and positional awareness evident from his very first appearance against Hamilton Academical.
However, he finds himself in one of the most competitive areas in the Rangers squad and the performances of Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack have limited him just cameos in recent Europa League ties.
Against Lech Poznan though he appears to have his manager’s backing and should he be given the start, the pressure will be on him to perform. While the Gers have already qualified for the knockout phase, anything but a win could see Benfica snatch the top spot in Group D from out under their nose.
With Arfield only making the bench against Ross County, he is almost certain to start as the most advanced member of the Gers midfield on Thursday, with Zungu sat deep alongside either Kamara or Davis.
Coming off the bench on Sunday, the 28-year-old completed 88% of his 26 attempted passes, completing one tackle and winning one aerial duel (via WhoScored), and he will need similar accuracy against Lech Poznan. Davis, Kamara and Jack have all completed more than 86% of their passes in the Europa League so far this term, while they have all averaged at least 54 accurate passes per 90 minutes (via WhoScored).
The evidence so far suggests that Zungu can capably fulfil this role, but the pressure is now on the Amiens loanee to show Gerrard that he can truly be relied upon.
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