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Rangers: Noel Whelan thinks Jon Flanagan will be targeted as a weakness in Betfred Cup final

Rangers: Noel Whelan thinks Jon Flanagan will be targeted as a weakness in Betfred Cup final - Rangers

Former Scottish Premiership striker Noel Whelan believes that Rangers defender Jon Flanagan could be targeted as a weakness by their opponents in Sunday’s Betfred Cup final.

The 26-year-old played at left-back in the 2-2 draw at Aberdeen on Wednesday night in the absence of the injured Borna Barisic, who is a doubt for the weekend’s cup showpiece against Glasgow rivals Celtic (as per FourFourTwo).

Whelan thinks that the Hoops will seek to target the ex-Liverpool defender as a player who could be exploited.

Speaking about Flanagan to Football Insider, Whelan said: “The left-back position is a big worry for me. Barisic has been transformed this season and is looking a really good player.

“It’s no coincidence that Rangers looked shambolic at times without him, Flanagan was a big part of that. He’s a right footer playing a left-back looks a square peg in a round hole.

“I fear Celtic will destroy him on Sunday. They’ll certainly target him. You think of James Forrest and Ryan Christie, they’ll definitely be looking to get some joy on that side.”

Whelan’s reservations about Flanagan playing at left-back in the Betfred Cup final this weekend are not without reason.

The 26-year-old also lined out at left-back in the most recent Glasgow derby at the start of September, a game that Rangers lost 0-2 at Ibrox.

While Barisic has excelled as an attacking threat this season with 10 assists, Flanagan “never posed any threat to Celtic down the left flank at any point in the 90 minutes”, according to Football Scotland‘s Craig Williams.

More recently, his performance in the draw at Pittodrie in midweek was questioned by James Black of Rangers News, who felt that the defender “should have done better in the build-up to the first Aberdeen goal” from Jon Gallagher.

Although Flanagan has played the majority of games in his career at right-back, he has been used exclusively on the left-hand side of defence by Steven Gerrard at Rangers this season.

The ‘Gers have dropped points in only three Premiership games so far in 2019/20 and Flanagan was at left-back in two of those. [via TransferMarkt]

Also, as Whelan has pointed out, the 26-year-old is likely to come up against some of the most prolific attacking midfielders in Scotland at the weekend.

Right winger Forrest, who will probably be his direct opponent, has scored 13 goals already this season, while Christie took his tally to 16 after scoring against Hamilton on Wednesday.

Given the goal threat that Celtic can pose and the shaky performances of Flanagan at left-back, Whelan’s concerns about that position in Rangers’ line-up are understandable.

Rangers fans, do you agree with Whelan’s fears that Flanagan could be a weakness at left-back on Sunday? Comment below with your views!

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Article title: Rangers: Noel Whelan thinks Jon Flanagan will be targeted as a weakness in Betfred Cup final

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