Europa League: Rangers Predicted XI vs Alashkert as Steven Gerrard lauds 21-year-old

  • John  Reid
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard watches his team

Rangers might not be in the hunt for Champions League qualification, but they still have a chance of progressing in the Europa League as they take on Alashkert in the play-off round first leg at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The Gers have performed well in the Europa League in the last few seasons, reaching the last 16 of the tournament in consecutive campaigns.

With the players in his squad, manager Steven Gerrard will be confident of reaching the group stages – but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be treating his Armenian opponents with plenty of respect.

Here we have a look at how the Gers could line-up when they take on Alashkert in Thursday’s 8:00pm kick-off.

What’s the latest team news at Rangers?

During his press conference Gerrard didn’t comment on Rangers’ injuries, which suggests that a full squad could be available for the tie, aside from long-term absentees Ryan Jack and Nikola Katic.

The duo of Kemar Roofe and Glen Kamara will miss the game as they are suspended.

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Which Rangers stars will definitely start vs Alashkert?

One player who seems guaranteed to start is goalkeeper Allan McGregor. He has started both of Rangers’ European games so far, but has yet to feature in domestic action, with Jon McLaughlin being selected. Expect the experienced McGregor to return to the starting line-up after missing the Premier Sports Cup tie against Dunfermline.

Another likely name on the team sheet is Connor Goldson. The centre-back has been a mainstay of the Rangers side for the last three seasons, making 167 appearances in that time. 

What decisions does Steven Gerrard need to make?

Perhaps the biggest decision Gerrard has to make is who will play alongside Goldson in the centre of defence. Filip Helander might replace Leon Balogun after missing the Champions League qualifier second leg game against Malmo.

Another area where the Gers boss could change things up is at left-back, where he could select Calvin Bassey over Borna Barisic. Bassey has played twice for Rangers this season, and Gerrard was full of praise for the 21-year-old in his pre-match press conference.

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“I’m not one to give out teams 24 hours before a big game, but what I can confirm is that Calvin’s in a fantastic place. He can’t do any more, he’s training ever so well. His confidence is high up and I don’t think he done much wrong the other night (against Dunfermline).

“I thought his performance was really strong, in and out of possession, he has since that game gave me something to thing about.”

The Gers boss may also have to decide whether to keep John Lundstram in the starting XI. He wasn’t in the line-up for the 2-1 loss to Malmo but started and scored in the win over Dunfermline.

Predicted Rangers XI vs Alashkert

McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Bassey, Davis, Lundstram, Aribo, Wright, Morelos, Kent

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