Why Rangers need to make a call on the future of Greg Docherty
Barring the 2-0 defeat against Old Firm rivals Celtic prior to the international break, Rangers have made an encouraging start to the season and Steven Gerrard should have plenty of positives to take from his team’s performances early in the campaign.
The Gers did ever so well to make it through to the group stages of the Europa League after a long qualifying campaign and they currently find themselves just three points adrift of their archrivals atop the standings after five games into the season in the Scottish Premiership.
With the international break finally coming to an end, Rangers returned to action with a bang on Saturday, as second-half goals from Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier and Brandon Barker propelled the Gers to a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Livingston at home.
On a day where most of the players did a pretty good job in their respective roles, Greg Docherty was once again a notable omission from Steven Gerrard’s 18-man matchday squad.
The 23-year-old is yet to make a single league appearance for the Rangers thus far this term and things aren’t really looking good for the midfielder in the early stages of the campaign.
A youth product of Hamilton Academical, Docherty rose to prominence in Scotland with his boyhood club before earning a move to Rangers in January 2018. He featured regularly for the Gers in the remainder of the 2017-18 season but was shipped out on loan to English League One outfit Shrewsbury Town last summer by Gerrard.
Docherty’s loan stint south of the border at Shropshire proved to be a resounding success, as the midfielder racked up an impressive tally of 10 goals and 11 assists in 50 appearances across all competitions to win the club’s Player of the Year Award for the 2018-19 season.
Following his exceptional loan spell in League One, Docherty was tipped by many to return to the first-team fold at Ibrox and challenge for a regular starting role under Gerrard. Even the 23-year-old would have hoped for a turnaround of fortunes in Glasgow but early signs do not look all that promising for the midfielder.
The former Scotland U-21 international made a few sporadic appearances in the Europa League qualifying rounds but he has hardly had any joy apart from that.
After remaining an unused substitute on the bench against Hibernian in Round 2 of the Scottish Premiership, Docherty has failed to make the matchday squads for any of the club’s league games thereafter, thus mustering a paltry 170 minutes of first-team football from 5 appearances in all competitions.
Realistically, it would be hard to blame Gerrard for not giving him a look in because Rangers are currently very well-stocked in the central midfield department, with Steven Davis, Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara, Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Leicester City loanee Andy King all competing for three roles in the midfield every week.
Hence, with all due respect to Greg Docherty, the 23-year-old’s prospect of playing regularly at Ibrox looks pretty bleak, to be honest, and Rangers should make it a point to sort out his future before the transfer window reopens in January.
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The 23-year-old still has a contract until the summer of 2022 but with Gerrard seemingly nor interested in offering him a chance to prove his credentials, a loan move elsewhere or a permanent move away from Glasgow could be an ideal solution for all parties involved.