Rangers take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final but who will be key for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side as they aim to make history in Seville?
Well we tasked former Rangers striker and Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd with the job of narrowing it down to five players, but it proved to be a tricky challenge.
“For Rangers to be back in a European final is a fantastic achievement,” he said. “That isn’t down to just a few players, it’s down to the full squad – even those who are injured.
“Everyone has played their part under Steven Gerrard and Giovanni van Bronckhorst and that will need to be the case again on Wednesday if Rangers are to win.”
I’ve played with Allan and know how good he is. On these type of occasions, he comes into his own and produces big saves – he’s already done that in this campaign by producing some unbelievable moments and I don’t see things being any different on Wednesday.
I can’t answer for Allan regarding what is next for him but if he’s played 40-plus games this season then for me it isn’t time to hang up the gloves. However, if Rangers win on Wednesday then the Scottish Cup final, some may argue it is a perfect time to finish. Personally, I think he’d be great for Rangers to keep around and even help younger players come through.
Being the ‘keeper at a club like Rangers is not easy. In some games you might not have lots to do but then you need to step up when needed and produce big saves. Allan has shown he can do that and he is a leader – Rangers will need that experience in this match.
Giovanni has several leaders in his squad and Connor is another in that category. Like Allan, there’s a question mark over his future at the club beyond this season and that contract situation potentially was on his mind earlier in the season.
I’m not sure what will happen there but if it were down to me I’d give him what he’s asking for because I think he’s been exceptional. It could cost millions to replace him and when you see what he offers in Europe and domestically – as that leader in defence – I want him to stay at Ibrox.
On Wednesday he’ll bring that calming influence on the pitch and leadership in defence. However, offensively he’s a threat too in the way he can create chances with those long diagonal passes to release the likes of Ryan Kent and at corners he’s always going to be a threat.
All of the leaders within the squad have an impact on the team in different ways and Tavernier leads by example on and off the field.
He should be so proud of what he’s done at Rangers. For anyone connected with the club, it has been a tough year after losing Walter Smith then Jimmy Bell. The way he conducted himself and as a captain led the club has been exceptional.
There was always lots of negativity around him with people saying ‘he can’t do this or that’ but I look at what he can do. He’s a right-back who scores goals, creates so many chances and is the top scorer in the competition – that says it all.
It’s not easy to do that game-in-game-out but he’s led by example in this competition and it’s a huge tie for him. We often speak about iconic captains and leaders but if he lifts that trophy on Wednesday – he will be a legend of this club.
What can I say about John? The way he has turned his Rangers career around is nothing short of brilliant. He’s now one of the first names on that team sheet and leads by example in the middle of the park.
Scoring that winner versus RB Leipzig gave him the hero status amongst the supporters and when you look at his performances over the past few months you can see why.
People expect big things of a player who has played in the Premier League and now he’s showing why they were right to. He’s fast, reads the game so well, can score, tackle, has a great range of passing and the versatility he offers has been key in Rangers getting to this point.
When Rangers have the ball on Wednesday he’ll push up and be in the middle but if they don’t he can drop back in the middle of a three – that all comes from having an exceptional understanding of the game and he deserves a lot of credit.
When you look at the forward areas on Wednesday, Rangers fans know Ryan will need to deliver, as he has done so often in this competition.
He can get on the end of those balls that Connor can send, plus when he runs with or without the ball, that creates space for the likes of Joe Aribo to drop into. While you can argue his numbers are not at the level they could be for his talent – defences are terrified of him.
Ryan’s best displays have been on these Europa League nights and it’s important for Rangers he does so again. He can eliminate defenders with his pace and trickery there’s a big onus on him to help fire Rangers to the trophy.
Those who just missed out…
“Even although I’ve narrowed it down to five who could make the difference in Seville, I need to give a special mention to Calvin Bassey. Since he’s been given regular game time he has flourished in that left centre-back role or even at left-back.
“He has risen to the occasion and really impressed, as has Ryan Jack who returned after that lengthy spell out with injury and has done so well in the middle alongside the likes of Glen Kamara and Scott Arfield who are so key too.
“Joe Aribo also has show how he’ll do anything for the team and has filled the gap left by Alfredo Morelos when required and been so important.
“We’ve not seen much of Aaron Ramsey but I do wonder if this could be the moment he turns up and does what he does. He scored in the last Old Firm at Ibrox early on and I won’t rule out him having a say in the final.”