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Northern Ireland's Jordan Jones 'told he can leave' Rangers as Michael O'Neill looks to bring winger to Stoke

 

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Jordan Jones

Jordan Jones

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Jordan Jones

Rangers kick off their attempt to stop Celtic's 10-in-a-row when the new Scottish Premiership season begins on Saturday but one player unlikely to be involved in the club's opening game against Aberdeen is Northern Ireland winger Jordan Jones.

According to the Daily Record, the 25-year-old has been told that he is no longer part of manager Steven Gerrard's plans ahead of what is a crucial campaign for both sides in Glasgow.

His hometown club Middlesbrough and Michael O'Neill's Stoke City are now understood to be interested in bringing Jones to the Championship.

Jones arrived at the club 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 four appearances for the club, starting once in a Scottish Cup tie against Stranraer in January.

He looked to have been given hope of a second chance two weeks ago when he came off the bench in a high-profile friendly against Lyon. However, the writing was soon on the wall when he was left out of the senior squad that beat Motherwell 4-0 in a friendly, sent inside with a B side who lost 4-1 to Dundee United.

Now it appears his time at Rangers is over.

Belfast Telegraph