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Clement was able to send Ryan at last. Sending Rangers’ teenage “prospect” packing

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Midweek saw Glasgow Rangers suffer a devastating 1-0 loss to Benfica, ending their hopes of competing in Europe for another year.

Perhaps fortunately, though, as the Gers will be focusing on winning the Scottish Cup and the Premiership, which will prevent fixture congestion.

Despite having several scoring opportunities throughout the match, Philippe Clement’s team was unable to break past a resilient Benfica defense.

In the Europa League, Rangers manager Philippe Clement takes on Benfica.
In the end, the Light Blues’ injury issues from the previous few weeks finally caught up with them.

A number of players, including Ryan Jack and Abdallah Sima, Oscar Cortes, and Ross McCausland, were not present for the second leg.

Given that the Scot’s contract with Glasgow expires at the end of the current campaign and he has a history of injuries, may Clement allow the midfielder to eventually leave the team?

Players on the Rangers without contracts
At the end of the current season, Jack is not the only player whose contract is up; five additional first team players may also be leaving.

The contracts of Jon McLaughlin, Kemar Roofe, Leon Balogun, John Lundstram, and Borna Barisic are nearing their expiration, with only Lundstram genuinely deserving of an extension past this season.

Lundstram Rangers, John
Transferring them might clear up a significant portion of the salary cost, giving Clement more options in the transfer market.

Given his sparse appearances this season, it appears that Jack may be looking to join a different team in the upcoming months.

The Rangers record of Ryan Jack

The 32-year-old became Pedro Caixinha’s second signing when he signed with the Light Blues in the summer of 2017.

After his Aberdeen contract expired, he signed a free transfer, and with 250 matches for the Dons under his belt, his expertise was undeniable.

Jack-Rangers and Ryan

Due to a number of physical issues, Jack missed 41 games throughout his first three seasons, which kept him from ever fully developing into a regular member of the squad.

Jack experienced three separate injuries that curtailed his playing time during the 2020–21 season, despite Steven Gerrard leading the Ibrox team to their first league title in almost a decade.

But the Scot was in top form when he did play. In addition to leading his teammates in the league in accurate passes made per game (65), he also placed fourth in accurate long balls made per game (3.2) and fifth in interceptions made per game (1.1), demonstrating the significant impact he had when healthy.

But Jack has only made 80 appearances for the team since the 2021/22 season began.

Jack has only started 12 games this season, and his impact is decreasing. As a result, it is anticipated that he will leave this summer.

Along with other midfield possibilities like Nico Raskin, Lundstram, Dujon Sterling, and even Cole McKinnon, who appears to be another bright talent to emerge from the academy, Clement signed Mohamed Diomande during the January transfer window.

But, with Bailey Rice being tipped for a bright future in the game, the Belgian may already have the perfect substitute in the form of a juvenile player who made his debut under Michael Beale.

The statistics for Bailey Rice’s youth team

The 17-year-old started his youth career at Motherwell. In the summer of 2022, he turned down professional terms with the Steelmen to sign with the Gers, which appeared to be a huge win for the team.

Journalist Mark Hendry praised the teenager as a “potential” in light of the Gers’ interest in the midfield player and reports that Manchester City was also eager to sign him.

Five youngest Rangers debutants in history

Participant

Age upon debut

Ferguson, Derek

16 years, 14 days, and 1 month

Rice Bailey

16 years, 14 days, and 4 months

Tom Walsh

16 years, 4 months, and 27 days have passed.

Paul Nsio

sixteen years, five months, and fifteen days

Zak Lovelace

sixteen years, seven months, and seven days

Through Transfermarkt

Rice shown how highly regarded he was by making 21 appearances for the B team during his first full season with the Light Blues. In those 21 games, he not only picked up an assist but also scored twice.

Because of his impressive performances, Beale, the former manager of the Gers, awarded Rice his senior debut against Livingston in a Premiership match last February, making the young player the youngest player to play for the Light Blues in league history.

Naturally, this comes with its own set of challenges, but it seems like the former Well phenomenon is managing this very well.

This season, Rice has made two appearances in the league and has been a member of the matchday squad seven times. It is evident that Clement has high expectations for the young player in the years to come.

Reasons Bailey Rice can take Ryan Jack’s spot

Rice shares Jack’s tendency to play in a defensive midfield slot that is a little bit deeper, which allows him to dominate games with his outstanding passing range.

Without a doubt, he might be the perfect substitute for the former Dons midfield player, and Clement would avoid having to spend money on transfers.

Rice has demonstrated that he is prepared for the demands of playing football in the first squad, and he has a ton of international experience with Scotland.

Despite only turning 17 last October, the 17-year-old has already made nine appearances for the Scotland U19 team and has participated in 22 games for the U17 squad.

Given that he is up against far superior competition, the more experience he receives at this level the better.

Seeing recent opportunities for McKinnon and Ross McCausland, two youth players, will undoubtedly give Rice the confidence he needs to go quickly.

Even if it might be too early for him to be playing consistently at the highest level next season, like McCausland, his potential needs to be developed moving ahead.

Soccer Discover the top wonderkids in world football with FanCast’s In the Pipeline series. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have the next Mbappe in their academy?

Rice will try to match the Northern Irishman’s 20 years of age, who has made 30 appearances for the team this season across all competitions.

Since joining the Light Blues in 2017, Jack has served them admirably, but it appears that his Ibrox career may be ending in the coming months.

What better way to send it off than to add another Premiership and Scottish Cup victory to his resume…

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