11 Jan Gerrard admits not all of Rangers’ players took their chance in Dubai friendly
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard warned some players had drifted further out of his plans after a 6-1 friendly win over Lokomotiv Tashkent in Dubai.
Gerrard fielded 24 players against the champions of Uzbekistan, changing the entire team at half-time at the Sevens Stadium in a pre-planned move.
Jermain Defoe and Sheyi Ojo struck before the break before Steven Davis and James Tavernier made it 4-0.
Rangers bounced back from the concession of a goal when Greg Stewart netted a late double, one from the penalty spot after a foul on Jordan Jones, who then set up the sixth.
Gerrard, who did not play Allan McGregor, Jamie Murphy or Alfredo Morelos, told Rangers TV: “We asked them to show what we have been working on all week.
“There have probably been three aspects we have been working on – our organisation, out of possession and then what we do when we regain the ball, which is to play at a speed that makes it really uncomfortable for the opposition.
“I thought both halves there were a lot of positives. I was more pleased with the second-half performance, the shape.
“It’s funny football, because some people grab opportunities and some people probably push themselves further away and that’s what happened today.”
Gerrard started with Wes Foderingham in goal, 18-year-old Nathan Patterson at right-back beside central defenders George Edmundson and Nikola Katic with Borna Barisic at left-back.
Scott Arfield, Ryan Jack and Joe Aribo started in midfield while Ojo and Brandon Barker supported Defoe.
Goalkeeper Andy Firth, Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Jon Flanagan, Andy Halliday, Greg Docherty, Davis, Glen Kamara, Jones, Stewart and Ryan Kent came on at half-time.
Gerrard declared the game a success after a week in Dubai.
“The idea behind it was to finish off our tough week, where the lads have worked ever so hard and their legs are heavy,” he said.
“It was a mini pre-season if you like, a lot of running and hard physical work.
“And then we wanted to give them a game so we could share 45 minutes between them to knock the cobwebs off and get ready for Stranraer next week.”
Academy players James Maxwell and Kai Kennedy were brought on for Tavernier and Kent just after the captain had headed home in the 70th minute and Gerrard was pleased with how the young players acquitted themselves.
“I’m certainly one that wants to give them an opportunity and they have done themselves no harm,” he said.
“But you can see clearly there is still a lot of work and development to do.
“I will be speaking to (academy head) Craig Mulholland when we get back and talk about how they have done over the course of the week. They have behaved themselves really well and represented the academy really well.
“Some have been stronger than others but I think it’s been a big real week in terms of learning and seeing how the first team behave on and off the pitch.”