A Returning Steven Davis Would Add Drive Into The Rangers Midfield

Rangers can be proud of their European exploits this season. They went a lot further than most were expecting and just missed out on qualification to the Europa League knock-out stages.

What last night’s loss to Rapid Vienna did highlight was the lack of quality and steel needed in the midfield area.

Scott Arfield’s best performances have come when he’s been pushed further forward, into a number ten role. Lassana Coulibaly hasn’t had the same intent or energy levels since coming back from his injury. Ryan Jack is a good engine-room spoiler but he doesn’t really seem to have the vision to hit defence splitting passes nor the intelligence to break forward at the right times and grab goals.

Ross McCrorie is still learning his trade and is definitely better when used as a holding midfielder.

Both Jordan Rossiter and Graham Dorrans have been out for long spells due to injury and neither has comeback this term and showed us that they can dictate things in midfield.

Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria has shown glimpses that he can be a skilful, creative midfielder but unfortunately he’s gone off the boil, as seen in his recent appearances. The young England youth international was ommitted from the squad that flew out to Austria and Gers manager Steven Gerrard explained to BT Sport that the player is currently unsettled in Glasgow and that he could cut his loan spell short:

“That’s something I need to discuss with Ovie in the coming days.

“I had a chat with Ovie a few days ago and he’s slightly unsettled.

“Liverpool are aware of the situation – we’re in dialogue with them and I’ll have a conversation with Ovie on Friday and see where we go from there.”

A player that has constantly been linked with a move back to Govan in recent seasons has been Southampton midfielder Steven Davis.

The Northern Ireland international enjoyed four and a half seasons at Ibrox before the financial crisis hit in 2012. He rejected the chance to stay with Rangers and instead signed for The Saints, who would agree a fee with the then Gers board.

The midfielder then proved his talent in the English Premier League and was a key part in Southampton’s successes in those six years at St Mary’s.

Last season, Davis hit three goals as he helped his side survive their relegation dogfight. The season before that (according to Whoscored) he was averaging an 86.2 passing success rate and created three assists.

Unfortunately this term has seen the Northern Ireland international being used as a bit part player. He’s only started one league match thus far.

In fairness though, he impressed in that game against Tottenham earlier this month; he created his side’s goal for Charlie Austin and he had a 95% passing success rate. Three of his passes were key passes and no Saints player made more passes than Steven’s sixty-four. He also made two tackles and won them both!

The thirty-three year old will work his socks off for his team and he always shows for the ball. Rangers could really be doing with his experience in midfield. He also knows what it takes to win things at Ibrox. His passing ability should see the veteran controlling a lot of the play in the Scottish Premiership.

Defensively, Steven Davis doesn’t mind getting stuck in either. Last year, he was making around 1.3 tackles per game. The player also has many captain like qualities and he’ll be able to lead by example both on and off the field. His professionalism would be greatly appreciated by a boss like Gerrard.

Many Gers fans would like to see the club cut short Greg Docherty’s loan deal at Shrewsbury Town. The youngster has been receiving rave reviews regarding his performances in League One. He’s made twenty-two appearances for The Shrews and has scored six times.

I’d be inclined in keeping Docherty where he is for the remainder of the season. The twenty-two year old was sent down south to gain valuable first team experience in a different league. Just because that tactic is working, doesn’t mean that they should end the experiment early. He should be given the year to help out Shrewsbury and comeback next season ready to become a Gers first team regular!

Rangers defender Gareth McAuley knows Steven well from their days together in the Northern Ireland team. According to STV, McAuley beleives Davis would be a terrific signing if Rangers could bring the midfielder in this January:

“I don’t know if it’s on the cards but he is a player who has been here before, he’s captained the club and knows what it’s about.”

“He’s made my best XI, he’s a top player and a great guy.”

“He’s one of those players that isn’t really appreciated other than the club he is at, the players down there will know what a fantastic player he is.”

If Steven Davis can’t break back into the Southampton starting eleven and they are willing to let him go, then it would be folly if Rangers didn’t try and sign him up again. He offers guile, experience and hard work that the Gers midfield has been lacking in recent games!


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