By Dan Carter

19th Sep, 2023 | 11:40am

Barry Ferguson offers Rabbi Matondo verdict with Rangers man better as an 'impact player'

Barry Ferguson believes that Rabbi Matondo is better for Rangers when he operates as an impact player from the bench rather than a starter.

The Welshman came off the bench to score the Light Blues second goal in their 2-0 win over St Johnstone on Saturday (16 August), his first Scottish Premiership goal of the season, having also found the net in the Light Blues’ 2-2 draw with PSV.

But Ferguson believes that Matondo isn’t yet ready to start games for Michael Beale’s side, having struggled against Celtic before the international break and is better utilised as a substitute later on in matches.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show on Monday (18 September) he said: “That’s what Matondo can bring as an impact player. From the start? I don’t see enough.

“But coming off the bench when the teams are starting to get tired and spaces start to happen for the opposition, that’s where he can really hurt them.”

Impact sub

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For teams to be successful both in Europe and domestically they need to have squad depth, with the fixture schedule meaning that players, especially in wide attacking areas will need to be regularly rotated to ensure they are fit and firing.

While Matondo has been at his best so far in his Rangers career when operating from the bench, Beale shouldn’t be afraid to start the Welshman on occasions as his natural pace and ball-carrying ability will be threatening in the first minute as well as the 81st.

The only way the 23-year-old is going to get better at impacting games from the start will be by gaining more experience in starting matches. But given the pressure on Beale and his Light Blues’ squad to improve performances and pick up results, there has been little opportunity to afford players time to adapt and improve.

Currently, Ferguson is correct that Matondo is best utilised from the bench as his skillset will terrify defenders in the closing stages of matches, but neither the winger nor Beale should be settling for the Welshman just becoming an impact sub.

If he can improve his overall game and build on his impressive cameo appearances, there is no reason why he shouldn’t start games more regularly, especially when the Gers look so much better with quicker players deployed in the wide areas.

In other Rangers news, Michael Beale must progress in Europe to help earn back the £25m lost by missing out on the Champions League