Gerrard says Sadiq has “improved a lot” after previous criticism

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says Umar Sadiq has “improved a lot” since being criticised and is working hard to get himself in the first-team, reports the Daily Mail. He’s made just four appearances in all competitions for Rangers this season, spending more time on the bench than on the pitch.

The Nigerian forward joined Rangers on loan from AS Roma in July but has struggled for form and playing time. It led to Gerrard saying Sadiq needed to improve “everything” before he stood a chance of featuring on a regular basis – something Gerrard says he’s since done.

The Rangers boss said: “Umar has shown that improvement. He’s been working very hard. He’s got his head down. He’s improved a lot. His application has improved, his quality has improved so he’s given me something to think about for the future.

“I don’t know (if the warning has sparked the change), that’s something you’d have to ask Umar. But sometimes when a manager is honest with you, sometimes you have to go away and self-reflect. If you’re a proper footballer you go analyse and come back stronger.”

Sadiq has scored four goals in six appearances for Nigeria and has led a very nomadic career despite his young age. He’s played for Abuja, Spezia, AS Roma, Bologna, Torino, NAC Breda and now Rangers, but his future is somewhat uncertain.

It’s still early into the season, but the 21-year-old has managed only one start and has stiff competition in attack which could hamper his chances of regular football, even if Gerrard’s happier with his application in training. Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty are ahead of Sadiq in the pecking order and have scored eight goals between them.

Stats from Transfermarkt.