HIS time at Rangers was all too brief, his impact all too minimal. Life at Ibrox has left an impression on Matt Polster, though, and given him experiences to shape the rest of his days in the game.

Signed from Chicago Fire last January, Polster has now returned across the pond. After just ten appearances for Steven Gerrard’s side, the chance to join New England Revolution and kick-start his career was one he had to take this summer.

There were only glimpses of what Polster could do in a blue shirt. Capable of operating in both midfield and at right-back, he never looked like holding down a position as he was unable to oust captain James Tavernier or one of the plethora of central options that Gerrard has had at his disposal over the last 18 months.

Many would look at Polster’s Ibrox stint as a waste, a period where his career stalled. For the 27-year-old, it is anything but.

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And as he prepares for his next challenge with New England Revolution, he will put the Light Blue lessons to good use under the guidance of legendary American boss Bruce Arena.

“For me, the experience was incredible and over in Scotland football is the biggest sport and the main thing,” Polster said. “That is all they talk about and all they want to do.

“To be over there in that environment was beneficial for me as a player and as an individual I think I learned a lot from that coaching staff.

“Steven Gerrard obviously has a big pedigree playing at the highest level and now coaching at a very high level in Scotland. But he also has a very good staff around him in Michael Beale and Gary McAllister.

“Learning from those guys, I can definitely bring a lot to this team and a certain level of demanding.

“Over in Scotland, playing for Rangers is very demanding and the expectation was to win week in, week out. I want to do that here.

“I know the MLS is tough in that aspect, having played here for four years I know it is very competitive and teams are a little more balanced. I think the expectation for me is to bring that environment from Rangers over here to New England now.”

The opportunity to sign for Rangers and play his football in Europe was one that Polster felt he had to make the most of when Gerrard offered his former LA Galaxy team-mate a trial. A two-and-a-half year deal was signed but a parting of ways in the summer was the natural outcome for both parties.

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Polster and his family immersed themselves in life in Glasgow and quickly formed an affinity with the club and the supporters. In the end, his ambitions on the park had to come first.

“Being there, you fall in love with the club and the fans fall in love with the players that are part of the club,” Polster said. “Once you are a part of it, it is something special.

“It was tough to leave, I am not going to say it was easy. But it was also tough to turn down this kind of opportunity to play under Bruce and play for this club.

“On one hand you don’t want to leave because you want to be part of a big club like Rangers, but on the other hand I wanted to play more consistently and I also wanted to play for Bruce. There was a sad moment in leaving but there is also an exciting moment in starting something here with New England.”

Polster may now call Boston home rather than Glasgow but he finds himself in a city that is famous for its football, albeit a different kind, once again as he looks ahead to the new Major League Soccer campaign.

The Revolution are owned by Robert Kraft – the money man behind six-time Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots – and are one of the founding teams of the American league setup.

In Arena, Polster has a boss that coached his country on two occasions and was also the last manager that Gerrard worked alongside during his brief spell in Los Angeles four years ago.

“My first impression was of the staff itself and obviously Bruce has a very high expectation and a high standard for this group,” Polster said. “He has a pedigree of winning and knowing how to win and we are here to do the same thing so I am proud to be a part of it.

“The opportunity presented itself to come here and be part of a really good programme and play under Bruce and I know he can help me get to a higher level as a player. I wanted to take that on.

“The team itself, I think individually we have a lot of good players. I think there are really good pieces in the team and the group and there are areas where we can build on and improve.

“For the most part, there are things that you can take away from the tournament down in Orlando that I watched. Obviously I wasn’t there but I think there were moments where we looked really good as a group.”

Polster’s final appearance for Rangers came in their Europa League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen back in March. Five months on, he will take to the field once again when the Revs face Philadelphia Union next week.

It will start a hectic period for Arena’s side as the MLS gets back to business whilst Coronavirus continues to sweep the States. There are clear difficulties off the park, but Polster’s focus is very much on it once again.

Polster said: “I think it is obviously a short spell with a lot of games but I am ready for it. It is going to be intense, it is going to be tough.

“The sessions here haven’t been easy whatsoever so going into these games I am definitely going to be fit enough.

“Now it is just being able to recover quick enough to play the next game and that will be the biggest thing for me. I am getting close to that 90 minute range and when those games come I will be ready.

“It is obviously difficult and we need to be responsible and put ourselves in the best situations. You try and not get Covid but you can put yourself in the right situation, wash your hands, try and limit how often you are outside or around certain numbers of people in big groups.

“Individually we need to be aware of that and as a club they are doing the best they can in terms of chartering flights, flying the day of and the night of [the game].

“There are protocols in place and hopefully they make it doable. We just have to play it by ear and go game by game.”