THE headache is a very different one, and an altogether more pleasing one, for Steven Gerrard to have these days. In his first two terms at Ibrox, he often had dilemmas over who to play up front, but not for the right reasons as the paucity of his options was laid bare.

That is the not the case now, however, and the four strikers that Gerrard has at his disposal offer him alternatives in terms of style and setup, as well as the ability to rest or drop players when required.

A lack of firepower has certainly played a part as Rangers have faltered badly during the last two seasons and seen promising title challenges collapse after the winter break. That issue should not repeat itself this time around, and here Herald and Times Sport looks at the role each of Gerrard’s four front men will play this term.


Games: 13

Goals: 5

The man that many believed would not be at Ibrox by now finds himself as a main talking point once again. It is Morelos’ fortunes in the here and now rather than his future that are a concern for Gerrard these days, though.

At his best, when he is focused and sharp, Morelos still stands out as Rangers’ best option through the middle, but he is going through one of those spells that happens too often and looks out of sorts right now. He is without a goal in six appearances and didn’t get off the bench against Livingston on Sunday.

Morelos’ all-round game has come on considerably under Gerrard’s guidance and some of his performances last term, in the Europa League especially, were exceptional.

In times gone by, Morelos almost had to play no matter his form or his mindset. That isn’t the case now, however, and the Colombian must prove he can rise to the challenge and recapture the form he and his manager know he is capable of.


Games: 4

Goals: 2

Those that assumed that Defoe would just be a bit-part back-up this term only have to look at his goal against Livingston to be proven wrong. As if any were needed, it was a reassurance that the 38-year-old still has that knack of being in the right place and nous of putting the ball in the back of the net.

It has been a difficult start to the campaign for the Englishman as the injury suffered in pre-season kept him out of action for several weeks. He marked his return against Lincoln Red Imps with a poacher’s finish and could have opened the scoring at Ibrox on Sunday.

Defoe spoke post-match about making the most of the chance to answer his doubters and the work he puts in on and off the park to ensure he is still in the best shape possible to perform when called upon. He is not going to be a regular starter for Rangers, but he can still be a regular scorer this term.


Games: 8

Goals: 3

Roofe won’t score a better goal than his social media sensation strike against Standard Liege last week but he could net a more important one for Rangers this term.

There is no doubt that fans have yet to see the best from the former Leeds and Anderlecht star and the challenge now for Roofe is to perform week in, week out and really establish himself in the Ibrox attack.

Gerrard has insisted that he will be patient with the 27-year-old as he looks to get up to full speed and he has shown enough thus far to suggest that he will be a potent player for Rangers. Roofe may not be a penalty box forward, but his movement and vision are excellent and that allows him to fit seamlessly into the free-flowing attack that Rangers operate with.

Time will tell if he can, for example, get into the 15-20 goals bracket this season and contribute as heavily in terms of numbers. But he will certainly have a key part to play if Gerrard can get the best out of him on a regular basis.


Games: 11

Goals: 2

The Swiss striker has seen his reputation for club and country rise and rise in recent months and he now has the opportunity to really make a name for himself this season.

His brace in the win over Motherwell at Fir Park are the only goals he has scored so far and if there is a criticism of him it would be that he hasn’t found the target more regularly.

Most of his appearances have come off the bench in the latter stages of matches and Itten must now show that he can earn the right to be a starter. At 23, he is very much a work in progress and there need not be too much pressure put on his shoulders given the other options that Gerrard has to choose from.

The fact that he can play up front with a partner gives Gerrard a useful alternative strategy and he looks adept across the forward line.

His work ethic and willingness to learn and improve will certainly stand him in good stead and there is certainly more to come from the former St Gallen striker.