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Alexander needs to improve his "self esteem"


J_RFC87
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This guy has a point, there's a few things Alexander said before the Norway game and Falkirk game which proves this.

If there was any consolation for Neil Alexander after being overlooked for the second time in a week, it was that he was proven right on both occasions.

Alexander may not quite be in the Victor Meldrew mould when it comes to retaining a permanent gloomy disposition, but the goalkeeper is certainly not one to view the future with unbridled optimism.

His mood will not have picked up any after being dumped to the bench for both club and country in the space of four days.

If George Burley's decision to start with David Marshall in goal against Norway was justified on the grounds that neither Marshall nor Alexander had any real claim on the jersey - and in hindsight Alexander probably dodged a bullet given the result - then the reinstatement of Allan McGregor for Rangers' opening match of the season against Falkirk would have been much harder to accept.

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And yet, the player had seen it coming. Football managers and players tend to place the accent on the positive whenever they speak to the media, for fear of exposing their vulnerability to the rest of the world, but Alexander is different.

In an illuminating conversation earlier this summer, the 31-year-old goalkeeper played down his chances of starting the season as first-choice at Rangers.

Alexander had arrived from Cardiff to provide cover but had performed flawlessly during McGregor's absences through injury and ill-discipline. It was he who finished in goal at the end of last season as Rangers completed a league and Scottish Cup double but the impression lingered that day, as he spoke about seeing himself as a No.2 and talked deferentially about McGregor, that Alexander did not expect to retain his place between the posts when the new campaign began.

There was further insight into his glass half-empty persona last week after he admitted he expected Marshall to get the nod for Norway. "I'm quite a negative person so if a bad thing does happen I'm ready for it, whereas if it turns out well, I'm happy," he said with the resigned air of a man too accustomed to disappointment.

He was right to fear the worst on both occasions and can feel justifiably angry and frustrated after being dropped in favour of McGregor, having done little wrong whenever called upon by Walter Smith.

There is a school of thought in football that a player deserves to retain possession of the jersey until he makes a mistake but another that suggests managers retain an irrational, unwavering disposition towards favoured players regardless of their flaws.

Smith clearly feels McGregor is the best goalkeeper he has at his disposal and there is nothing Alexander can do about it.

It is barely surprising then that Alexander finds it hard to remain upbeat but it is a mindset he needs to snap out of, according to Tom Lucas, the sports psychologist.

"Dealing with rejection in any walk of life is always difficult," he said. "But it's how we move forward that is the most important thing. Neil must feel quite hurt at being overlooked but he has to turn that into positive energy and action.

"He can settle for being second choice at Rangers or he can get out of his comfort zone and show that success for a footballer does not begin and end with the Old Firm. It's about self-belief and constantly challenging yourself. He doesn't have to prove to others that he's good enough, just to himself, but Ilike my athletes to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder and that willingness to stick two fingers up at those who have deemed you not worthy.

"Introspection and negative thinking is quite common in sportsmen but it is rare to see them revealing this side of them in public the way Neil has. He clearly needs to work on his self-esteem and realise he is both a talented goalkeeper and a valued human being."

McGregor can probably empathise with his fallen comrade. He faced a similar battle for possession of the goalkeeper's jersey with Lionel Letizi during Paul Le Guen's brief tenure, while Stefan Klos' decade of supremacy at Ibrox was bookended by challenges from Lionel Charbonnier at the start, and then Ronald Waterreus towards the end.

It is not a new phenomenon. Stewart Kennedy traded places regularly with Peter McCloy in the Rangers goal in the 1970s and revealed how the fabled goalkeepers' union only went so far.

"We worked together in training during the week but come Saturday only one of us could play," he said. "So, if truth be told, when Peter was playing I was hoping Rangers would win but the big man made an a*se of it so I could get my place back, and I'm sure it was the same for him.

"Normally when you lost your place it was because you had done something to be dropped. You felt you were maybe worth another chance but understood why you weren't playing.

"That's why I feel heart sorry for Neil Alexander. He's done nothing wrong as far as I can see but still doesn't get picked. But that's Walter's decision and we'll see come the end of the season if it is the right one or not."

http://www.theherald.co.uk/sport/headlines...rves_gloves.php

The actual newspaper showed four other "famous" conflicts in the Rangers goalkeeping ranks, including McGregor/Leitizi.

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To be honest I don't see anything wrong with his comment regarding being second choice at Rangers. When he was signed he knew that he was signed as back up to McGregor and even when he came in and played well he was still back on the bench as soon as McGregor returned to fitness so I guess he kind of expected what would happen at the start of this year.

But if McGregor is in a bad run of form then I'm sure Walter will have no qualms about putting him straight back in.

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To be honest I don't see anything wrong with his comment regarding being second choice at Rangers. When he was signed he knew that he was signed as back up to McGregor and even when he came in and played well he was still back on the bench as soon as McGregor returned to fitness so I guess he kind of expected what would happen at the start of this year.

But if McGregor is in a bad run of form then I'm sure Walter will have no qualms about putting him straight back in.

But it seems no matter how well Alexander does when he comes in McGregor will always come back in eventually.

Something not right about that.

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If I was Neil Alexander I would take this very badly. Not spit the dummy out the pram or anything but feel completely devastated.

Three times Alexander has came in for McGregor and not put a foot wrong but he still ends up being back up to McGregor. What does he have to do?

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McGregor is Walter's number 1 regardless of what he does wrong,it's been shown time after time.

It's unfair on Alexander as he hasn't done anything to deserve being dropped but if Shagger had to punch one

in on Sunday,it's fair to say Neil would be back in the team until McGregor looked "sharp" in training.

I thought before Saturday it was a "fight" for the gloves,this is clearly not the case.

McGregor is the number 1 and Alexander merely warms the gloves while Shagger is "punished"

I agree with Manti,it's very unprofessional to say he needs help when he hasn't been examined,

he may be a bit negative but that doesn't mean he needs help.

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I don't think he needs to improve his self esteem, I think he's just being professional by refusing to criticise manager's decisions.

(tu) Alexander is being a consumate professional and one that the likes of John Fleck should look at as an example. He doesn't spit the dummy out he gets on with his work. He doesn't moan about it to the press either which is what all Rangers players should be doing. If the shoe was on the other foot I would have my doubts that McGregor (or any other player for that matter) would handle it in the classy way that Alexander has

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I don't think he needs to improve his self esteem, I think he's just being professional by refusing to criticise manager's decisions.

(tu) Alexander is being a consumate professional and one that the likes of John Fleck should look at as an example. He doesn't spit the dummy out he gets on with his work. He doesn't moan about it to the press either which is what all Rangers players should be doing. If the shoe was on the other foot I would have my doubts that McGregor (or any other player for that matter) would handle it in the classy way that Alexander has

Exactly, Neil is the model professional.

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Maybe Alexanders problem is that he is just a really nice guy.Maybe he should have gone "ape" because he was pretty much entitled to. He should never have lost his place. He deserves to be number 1. Not juust out of behaviour but on merit. I mean he has not played a bad game for Rangers yet.

I dont think the piece is that far wrong at all. Of course the usual crowd always jump on any Rangers article right now and bemoan it. He may be right

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Has this 'sports psychologist' ever treated/ examined Alexander?

Whether he has or not his comments strike me as shockingly unprofessional.

Unless he has examined him and has spoken to the press with his permission.

Sports psychology is just another kid-on subject they give out kid-on degrees at kid-on universities for. It's not a real science.

Personally I thought it was shocking Alexander was overlooked on both occassions. Typical of the Herald, they make out being left out for David Marshall was justified, but being left out for McGregor was not. Marshall is a complete diddy of a goalkeeper who made his name against Barcelona, making simple saves look like heroics. He has to stretch for everything due to his poor positioning, which was particularly evident at the two free-kicks Norway scored. Marshall never made a single save in that game, so although I am not saying we would have won, if Alexander was playing it would have been nowhere near as embarrassing as 4-0.

Allan McGregor might, just might, be a better keeper than Alexander, but the jury is still out for me. McGregor makes better saves than Alexander, but also makes more mistakes. I reckon the stats would show Alexander has conceded less goals per game for Rangers. I can understand Walter Smith's mentality that last season counts for nothing, but even pre-season McGregor looked dodgy. I would have played Alexander in the SPL, maybe put McGregor in for Europe and cup games. I think Man United or somebody did something similar a few seasons ago with their keepers.

Neil Alexander knows the score though. It's all political. Marshall was picked for Scotland to appease the tims, or certainly because the SFA (who tell george Burley who to pick) didn't want a Rangers player coming in after the antics of Boyd, Ferguson, McCulloch and McGregor. McGregor was picked for Rangers because he earns at least double what Alexander does. You have to keep your big wage earners happy, unless you want rid of them. Mind you, I don't think we would knock back an offer for McGregor, so maybe he was in the shop window..

What would you do if you were in Alexander's position? Roy Carroll left after 6 months on the bench. At any other club, if it was me I would demand a transfer as clearly Alexander will never oust McGregor long-term. Despite showing unchallenged loyalty, never letting the club down, and handling the pressure at the cutting edge of the season. But it's Rangers, and I would never demand a transfer from the Gers. So maybe Alexander is a bluenose, who puts being at Rangers ahead of first-team football, unlike so many other players who claimed to be fans.

Of course, Alexander has won 2 Scottish Cup medals, the SPL and played in a European final while being 'number 2' to McGregor, so it's not all bad news. Probably won more in 18 months here than in his entire career previously. If you don't count the Kirin Cup..

He'll probably give it till the end of the season, see if he gets back in again. McGregor might be sold. Alexander's contract probably runs out then anyway. It does disappoint me the way Smith has dumped Alexander and indeed Velicka, because they helped him out big time when he turned to them at the business end of last season. But that's football I suppose..

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I hope McGregor is only playing to be put "in the shop window" as it's put. For me McGregor's performance dropped with all this off the field crap with him and his barbie and the man who kids should look up to is the guy that replaced him. I'l be honest that McGregor was my favourite player but after the way Alexander has shown how to be the model professional he is certainly my first choice.

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