Opportunities have been few and far between for Jak Alnwick at Rangers. The goalkeeper will have known he would be second choice behind Wes Foderingham when he moved to Ibrox from Port Vale in January.
But Alnwick probably expected to feature in more than just four games in the space of nine months. The former Newcastle United prospect, however, did not do his chances of challenging for a first-team berth much good in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Motherwell in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals.
Louis Moult, a man Rangers had tried to sign in the summer, per the Scottish Sun, was the hero of the day but both of his goals could, and perhaps should, have been prevented.
Alnwick failed to deal with the corner kick that led to Moult’s first goal and was left red faced by the in-form striker’s long-range chip in the second half. The 24-year-old came racing off his line and was left helpless as the ball soared over his head and sealed Motherwell’s place in the final against Celtic next month.
If any Newcastle supporters were watching, they could have been forgiven for suffering from a bout of déjà vu. After all, this was the sort of rookie mistake that prevented Alnwick from kicking on and making the grade at St James’ Park.
Alnwick’s Premier League debut against Chelsea in December 2014 showed that the Hexam-born ‘keeper had plenty of talent but more than a few rough edges. It was his failure to claim a cross that saw Didier Drogba half the deficit, although Newcastle held on to win 2-1.
He spilled another corner against Tottenham in a 4-0 League Cup defeat a few weeks later, allowing Nabil Bentaleb to open the scoring. And it appears that Alnwick has not yet ironed that poor decision making out of his game.
Though he’ll need to, and fast, if Foderingham is going to have some competition at Ibrox.