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Why now is not the time for young Rangers star to return.

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Given the current injury setbacks with Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield, it is clear to see why Rangers fans are wanting another option in midfield. 

There has been some clamour for the return of Stephen Kelly, who has been in impressive form and receiving rave reviews, on loan at Ross County. 

If Kelly was to be recalled to Ibrox, it would mean that some pressure is relieved on the squad given that the bench on Saturday against Celtic only contained one genuine midfield option in Bongani Zungu. 

Of course, Ianis Hagi has previously been deployed in the engine room but he is undoubtedly a forward player, which is where his real strengths lie.

Another option is Jamie Barjonas, who is a regular in the Europa League squads. Steven Gerrard has trusted Barjonas enough to give him a contract extension twice, but the 21 year old is very much on the periphery as he is a back up option and yet to make a competitive appearance this season, despite an impressive goalscoring cameo in pre-season against Nice.

Rangers may decide to add to the strength in depth by adding to the midfield options in this month’s transfer window but that player should not be Stephen Kelly. 

Game time.

At present, Kelly is a first choice player for the Staggies. So far this season, he has made 18 appearances and turned in a man of the match performance in their recent 1-1 home draw with St Johnstone, as reported by BBC Sport Scotland. 

Until recently, he was performing and making an impact in a struggling team under axed boss Stuart Kettlewell. Now that John Hughes is in charge in Dingwall, there has been an immediate bounce that new managers often elicit from their team. 

Hughes is the type of manager who wants his team to play football on the ground, to be expressive and expansive, as stated in a recent interview with BBC Sportscotland.


Quite simply, Stephen Kelly will feature, gain experience and develop much more this season, by staying at Ross County and getting regular game time, rather than returning to Ibrox to be a bit-part player with chances even more limited with the return of Jack and Arfield.

Now is the time for the player to be allowed a degree of inconsistency and mistakes in a less pressurised environment although he is playing very well at County. Kelly should return to Ibrox in pre-season to make his claim and to be assessed further.

Another five months on loan will mean further improvement in the highly rated youngster, to Rangers benefit. 

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