Rangers coach Michael Beale has stated his belief that Gareth McAuley will feature for the first-team soon. The Northern Ireland defender joined Rangers on a free transfer from West Bromwich Albion over the summer and has been training hard to boost his fitness.
McAuley has turned out for the Gers’ reserve side on a number of occasions, and Beale is expecting Steven Gerrard to select him in the first-team soon. He said to the Belfast Telegraph: “Gareth is doing very well. He came to us after being unattached so he was doing some fitness on his own. Everyone knows he is an outstanding professional and I’m really pleased we have Gareth on board.
“He had a slight injury from international duty so that put him back a few weeks, but now he has played a couple of reserve games and there is another one this weekend, and from there I expect Gareth to be someone who has a big impact in our team moving forward.”
McAuley made 227 appearances in all competitions for Albion between 2011 and 2018. He’s played for Linfield, Ballyclare Comrades, Crusaders, Lincoln City, Leicester City and Ipswich Town. He’s made over 500 appearances in his club career and 79 for the NI national team. Gerrard will be delighted to have such a player at his disposal, but it’s unknown when the former Albion man could feature.
There’s still stiff competition in the backline, with Joe Worrall, Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic currently ahead of the 38-year-old in the pecking order, but McAuley’s experience could be telling. Rangers are currently third in the Scottish Premiership table with 21 points from 11 games, coming off the back of three wins and a draw from their last four outings.
Stats from Transfermarkt.