Lee McCulloch has told the Evening Times that he can see next season being tough for Glenn Middleton if Rangers manage to re-sign Ryan Kent, especially with Jordan Jones also set to make the move to Ibrox.
Middleton has endured a mixed season. The 19-year-old appeared set to be a key part of Steven Gerrard's plans when the manager quickly introduced him into the first-team. And the winger repaid that faith immediately.
The personal high point for the teenager would have surely been the goal in the dramatic Europa League game with Spartak Moscow back in November that had put the Gers 3-2 ahead going into the break.
Unfortunately, Middleton has fallen out of favour since the winter break, making just two appearances and none since February. But after scoring twice in the reserves' win against Celtic this week, there have been plenty of calls for the wide-man to get another chance.
And with Rangers in a fairly comfortable position in the Scottish Premiership table, McCulloch suggested that Gerrard should give Middleton another shot before the campaign. But he also predicted that he is going to find things tough next term, with Jones joining and Kent potentially on Rangers' shopping list this summer.
"Glenn hasn’t been playing because of the form of Ryan Kent in recent months and if Rangers can keep a hold of him then it is going to make it hard for him next term. Plus, you have Jordan Jones coming in," he told the Evening Times.
"But he has shown he has got that mental strength to keep trying and keep going and he certainly has the ability to play in the first team. Hopefully he gets that chance again."
There is no question that the Gers should jump at the chance to keep Kent if they can get him back next season. While Rangers were impressive in the second-half of the most recent Old Firm game, it was his moment of inspiration that looked set to change the game.
Of course, his return would make it much tougher for Middleton to force his way back into the first-team picture. But if Middleton continues to catch the eye in the reserve games, then perhaps Gerrard may soon find it impossible to overlook him anyway.
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