Rangers winger Sheyi Ojo has been told that he will have to “deal with” losing his place in Steven Gerrard’s first XI and prove to his manager that he deserves to be in the team regularly.
That is the view of Football Insider pundit Jackie McNamara, who said that the season began with “a lot of hype” around the 22-year-old, who he feels may have been a victim of the strong form of team-mates such as Ryan Kent, as well as his own disimprovement from earlier in the campaign.
Speaking about Ojo to Football Insider, McNamara said: “He’s started the season with a lot of hype around him and maybe because of Kent coming back and a few others, he hasn’t featured a lot lately.
“Gerrard seems to have a settled team and he seems to be finding it difficult to break into the team, which could be down to him or those ahead of him. He has to deal with it and show Gerrard he’s a starter.”
McNamara is justified in saying that the onus is on Ojo to seize upon any opportunities he gets to convince his manager to restore him to the team more regularly.
The on-loan winger enjoyed a very strong first couple of months to the season, with five goals and four assists to his name by mid-September, including the winner against Feyenoord in the Europa League. [via TransferMarkt]
He had started eight of Rangers’ first 11 Premiership games this term but hasn’t been in the starting line-up in any of the last five, having failed to even make the matchday squad for the trip to Motherwell last Sunday. [via TransferMarkt]
The aforementioned goal against Feyenoord, which came three months ago, remains his most recent for the ‘Gers, while his drop-off in performance through the autumn into December is reflected in his Europa League statistics.
He recorded no fewer than four shots in the win over Feyenoord on the opening matchday in Group G but, in his 12 minutes off the bench against Young Boys last week, he committed more fouls (two) than completed passes (one). [via WhoScored]
Plus, as McNamara has said, other wide players have distinguished themselves in recent weeks. Kent has struck three goals and supplied two assists in the last month, starting Rangers’ last 10 games in all competitions (as per TransferMarkt).
Meanwhile, Joe Aribo has started the last two games against Young Boys and Motherwell on the right wing (as per TransferMarkt). He caught the eye against the Swiss side by making three key passes and having four shots, with James Black of Rangers News saying that he “put in a really impressive shift”.
McNamara pointed out that Ojo had been hyped by some pundits earlier this year, with ex-Rangers defender Alan Hutton describing him as “relentless” (as per Football Insider) and Ojo’s former team-mate Don Cowie telling the Daily Record that “on a day to day basis you could see he was a real talent”.
With the winger struggling to get into Gerrard’s first XI of late and the likes of Kent and Aribo going well, McNamara is right in saying that Ojo must channel any frustration into producing effective performances if he is to earn back his place in the side.
Rangers fans, what did you make of McNamara’s words about Ojo? Comment below with your views!
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