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Steven Gerrard urges Rangers to reward Glen Kamara's form with new contract

Europa League

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Shining star: Glen Kamara gets into the thick of the action during the Europa League play-off against Galatasaray

Shining star: Glen Kamara gets into the thick of the action during the Europa League play-off against Galatasaray

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Shining star: Glen Kamara gets into the thick of the action during the Europa League play-off against Galatasaray

Steven Gerrard has called on Rangers to speed up their efforts to extend Glen Kamara's contract after his impressive Old Firm display.

The bargain £50,000 buy from Dundee has a deal running to 2023 but Gerrard wants to tie the Finland international down for longer after seeing him run the show during the Light Blues' 2-0 derby triumph at Celtic Park last Saturday.

Gerrard insisted earlier this month Kamara would not be sold despite interest from Anderlecht, saying he would be given a new deal when the "time is right".

And Gerrard believes that moment has now come.

Asked if Rangers planned to rush through the signing talks to stave off interest in the 24-year-old, Gerrard said: "I don't know is the answer. If it was my decision the answer would be yes.

"I've made my feelings known to Ross (Wilson, sporting director) and the board on that.

"Glen has been fantastic for me since day one. He's grown and he's evolved. He's improved and he's listened. There were different areas of his game that we felt we could shape and help him become a better player.

"But he is the one who has really gone out and worked on his game both in and out of possession. He's in a fantastic place and is playing with confidence.

"He was superb at the weekend, but for me he has been really consistent for much longer.

"We want Glen around us for as long as possible and everyone knows my feelings on that situation."

Rangers will look to use the soaring confidence produced by their Parkhead victory to springboard them back to the Europa League knockout rounds after their run to the last-16 last term.

They kick off their third consecutive group stage campaign versus Standard Liege in Belgium tonight against a side who have lost only one of their last 16 European games at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

But Gerrard is confident having watched his team again prove adept at shutting down the threat of opponents by preventing a blunted Hoops line-up from registering a single shot on target last weekend. And he reckons that tactical know-how will ensure they handle Philippe Montanier's men with care.

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At a loss: Standard head coach Philippe Montanier has a Covid headache

At a loss: Standard head coach Philippe Montanier has a Covid headache

BELGA/AFP via Getty Images

At a loss: Standard head coach Philippe Montanier has a Covid headache

 

He said: "I think it would be a really big victory, but the players are going to have to work ever so hard to get that victory.

"Standard Liege are a good team with a good coach. They have a really aggressive way with how they press and a strong pedigree in Europe with a strong home record. We're under no illusions this is going to be a really tough night but we come here in a good place.

"We're at a stage now where we've been together for a couple of years, so the players should know what we're trying to do in terms of our philosophy, how we play in and out of possession."

Like Celtic last Saturday, Liege have had Covid-19 troubles after seeing three players contract the virus in the build-up to the game.

Gerrard has sympathy but insists his team are not here to nurse Standard back to health.

He said: "We are coming up against a very good team, a big squad full of talented players. So I'm sure they will cope.

"Obviously it's not ideal from their point of view, but we are here to do a job. We are here to try to take maximum points.

"The team that we thought might have started might change in a couple of areas, so we have to be ready to adapt to certain situations. We're very focused on what we have to do."

Standard Liege boss Montanier has urged his coronavirus-hit side to take inspiration from Belgian rivals Club Brugge.

Michel-Ange Balikwisha and Nicolas Raskin, who both started the team's draw against Brugge at the weekend, as well as defender Moussa Sissako and goalkeeping coach Jan van Steenberghe have all contracted the virus.

Standard also announced that Damjan Pavlovic and Abdoul Fessal Tapsoba would be kept away. The pair have both tested negative but share a house with Sissako. But Montanier is taking heart from Brugge's display in their Champions League opener against Zenit St Petersburg.

The Belgian champions were without three players, however still managed to stun Zenit in Russia with a 2-1 win.

"Club Brugge is a good example. The Brugeois left without three starters at Zenit and they won. It is a good omen," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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