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Jordan Jones told he can leave Rangers as Northern Ireland winger seeks games ahead of Euro play-offs

 

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Jordan Jones

Jordan Jones

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Jordan Jones

Jordan Jones has been told he is free to leave Rangers and should take that option, according to his international manager.

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough has selected the 25-year-old winger in his squad for next month's UEFA Nations League games against Romania and Norway.

That's despite Jones being frozen out by Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. He has played only 24 minutes of football since the club returned to action after lockdown, coming on as a sub in the Europa League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. In the club's five Premiership games so far, he has made only one match squad but remained an unused substitute in the 3-0 home win over St Mirren.

Now, Baraclough says that Jones has been given permission to leave the club little over a year after his arrival.

Not only that, but as the new NI chief seeks game-time for his players in the lead-up to the Euro 2020 qualifiers, a move away from Ibrox is something he would endorse.

"Jordan is someone I have spoken to several times," said Baraclough.

"I want to help players be settled at their clubs or find new clubs and be there for them to pick up a phone and speak to.

"If we can help them in any shape or form, it is our job to do that. Jordan is an exciting talent. He wants to play football and regular games to give himself the best chance of performing on the international stage.

"At this moment in time, Rangers is a competitive squad and Steven Gerrard has spoken to him and said he can find a new club if that comes up. Hopefully that can be sorted pretty soon and hopefully he can get settled into a new club, new surroundings and then he can go and perform for us like we think he can.

"We have real exciting, young players with pace and an eye for goal and Jordan is one of those."

Jones arrived at Rangers on a free transfer last summer, having impressed in three seasons at Kilmarnock, netting 11 Scottish Premiership goals for the club.

He was initially hailed by his new boss for an impressive start to life at Ibrox as he played a part in five Europa League qualifying games as well as the club's first four league games of the season.

"He gave the team oxygen in a very tough game," Gerrard said after a 4-2 win at FC Midtjylland in Denmark.

However, a month later and what now looks to have been the terminal blow to Jones' Rangers career had already been dealt.

In the sixth minute of stoppage time during a 2-0 home defeat to would-be champions Celtic, Jones lashed out at Moritz Bauer, earning himself a straight red card and injurying his own knee in the process.

He would later phone the Celtic star to apologise for the tackle but it would take more to win the forgiveness of manager Gerrard, who fumed after the game:

"I think Jordan has been trying to appease the fans but that's not how you appease Rangers fans. You create goals and score goals if you're a wide man. That's how you get fans on your side, not kicking people when the ball is 10 yards away.

“He deserves the red card and he deserves his ban and he’s got everything to do now to get back in my team.”

After recovering from the injury, Jones would make only another five appearances for the club, starting once in a Scottish Cup tie against Stranraer in January.

Belfast Telegraph


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