Steven Gerrard has a key decision to make over the future of Rangers winger Brandon Barker…
According to Rangers News, the 24-year-old was expected to leave Ibrox on loan before the end of the summer transfer window.
The winger failed to secure a deadline day switch and is now in limbo at Ibrox, having been left out of the Gers’ Europa League squad and not being in Gerrard’s current Premiership plans.
Should Barker be given a first-team shot?
Gerrard faces decision on Barker
Gerrard is now in a position where he needs to take charge and make a crucial decision regarding what to do with Barker. It would be a waste to see the winger kicking his heels and doing nothing until January, so the Rangers boss needs to decide whether he wants to allow him to play for the B team and/or first team or have him do nothing for four months.
Rangers B have an SPFL Trust Trophy clash against Ayr United on Wednesday and Barker is eligible to feature in the game. Gerrard must allow the 24-year-old to feature in it in order to gain some match fitness and show that he has the quality to be a first team option further down the line.
His performance in this game, if he is allowed to play, could determine what happens with him between now and January. Given that he is out of contract next summer, January will be the club’s final chance to recoup some money for the former Manchester City man and giving him some game-time leading up to the transfer window could drum up some interest in his services.
Commenting on Barker and Jordan Jones previously, Gerrard hailed the pair as exciting players who can provide quality in the final third.
He said: “Last year I didn’t feel we had enough in the final third. The idea this year was to build a squad with exciting players who can open the door in different ways.
“Jordan Jones and Brandon Barker open the door in one-v-one situations then provide crosses or cut in to score goals.”
This shows that Gerrard had faith in Barker at the start of his career at Ibrox and maybe he could still have the potential to be a success. He scored three goals and provided four assists in 22 games on loan at Oxford last season, having scored twice in 10 Premiership matches during the first half of the campaign for Rangers.
Giving him a few opportunities in the league between now and January could be worthwhile for the Gers for multiple reasons. Firstly, it allows him to show that he has improved since the start of last season and it could open the door for him to work his way into Gerrard’s plans, but it also gives interested clubs a recent set of performances to analyse and make decisions upon – potentially helping him to secure a transfer.