RYAN Jack is Steven Gerrard’s kind of player. A proper footballer.
The midfielder is not one to grab headlines, the odd goal and red cards aside, because his role is not especially glamorous.
Jack’s job is to get on the ball, then pass to one of his more attack-minded team-mate. When not in possession, he will chase down an opponent as if his life was dependent on him winning a tackle.
He is a seven out of 10 almost every week. He trains as he plays, a trait his manager was famous for, with full commitment and always with more than half an eye on the game coming up.
Something that was lost after Sunday’s 6-1 demolition of Hibs was just how well Jack played. It was not missed by Gerrard.
He said: “I’m not going to take any credit for Ryan Jack. I remember the first session I watched when I came here and 10 minutes into it, I turned to one of my staff and said, ‘He wants to be part of this’.
“I only had to see him for 10 minutes. He had everything I want to see. He is hungry. He’s a winner.
“He is one of the first names that comes to my mind when I’m picking teams because I can trust him in any role.
“He makes the right decisions on the pitch – that’s why he is so important to us. He was selected for every big game last season and that will continue to happen if he plays at that level.”
Gerrard will change his team for Thursday’s visit of FC Midtjylland. Last season he was let down by those in his squad who weren’t up to it, which he hopes is not a factor he will have to deal with this time.
The Rangers manager said: “In terms of numbers, we are in a decent place. Steven Davis’ performance was outstanding. If you take Jermain’s hat-trick away, he was probably our best player.
“Ryan again was solid and consistent, and what a start to a career Joe Aribo has had. The fans have taken to him and he has taken to the fans. I’m really looking forward to seeing that blossoming.”