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Neil Alexander's future, an interview


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Graeme Macpherson

Published on 13 Dec 2009

Neil Alexander has had plenty of time to think of late.

He may have even more to contemplate should events unfold in the next few weeks as many expect them to.

The Rangers goalkeeper finds himself faced with the sort of quandary that has ­troubled many a fringe player stationed at a successful club.

At what point does the need to satisfy personal career goals and aspirations become more important than material 
wealth and a comfortable lifestyle?

Alexander will be 32 in March and gave his strongest 
hint to date that sitting on the substitutes’ bench most weekends awaiting some sort of misfortune to befall Allan McGregor may no longer be enough for him.

On Saturday against St Johnstone, Alexander started his first league match since winning the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title at Tanna­dice last May because of a hamstring injury sustained by McGregor.

The extent of the latter’s 
discomfort is unclear but, based on previous evidence, it seems likely that McGregor will be recalled to the side as soon as he regains full fitness, regardless of how well or otherwise 
Alexander is playing at that time.

Alexander, whose contract expires in 2011, did not want to appear ungrateful, given all he has achieved in his two years at Ibrox, but suggested there is only so long that he can continue to play second fiddle to another man at this stage in his career.

“It’s extremely hard, 
especially at my age, because I want to play,” he said, “and, having had a taste of playing at this club and the success I’ve had in a short period of time, it makes it twice as hard to be ­sitting on the sidelines and not involved when the boys are winning.

“If that was the case [that he keeps getting put out the team whenever McGregor is fit] then I’d have to go away and think about it. I would need to look at my options and decide what to do.

“I love being at the club. I feel it’s been the best time of my career, and my wife and kids are settled, so you have to weigh everything up involved with being here. We have to wait to see what the future brings, but there’s only so long that I feel [he can continue like this] before I need to get back playing. If it’s not here, then maybe I need to look somewhere else.

“Do I have a time frame in my own head? Yes. I spoke to the gaffer after the first game of the season as I felt I needed to go in and have a chat with him. He said I had never let him down and that I’ve done ­brilliantly since I joined the club. He put his arm round me and said I was unlucky not to be in the team.

“But it’s my career at the end of the day and, as much as I love it here and would love to stay for a long time, I feel I need to be playing. I’ve got an idea in my own head and we’ll see what happens.”

Alexander was barely tested 
by St Johnstone’s timid strikeforce on Saturday, but he admitted he still felt rusty when called upon, barely a surprise seeing the scrapping of the SPL Reserve League has made it nigh impossible for him to sustain the desired levels of match fitness.

“It’s tough keeping things ticking over and I felt a bit rusty out there with my kicking and my movement,” he said.

“I maybe just play one game a month and with the Champions League campaign it’s been difficult to fit in bounce games as there’s not been a lot of time.

“I try to get something out of them, but you’re playing teams from a lower division, so usually you don’t have a lot to do. So it’s tough, as when you’re thrown in to the first team you have to switch on right away – you can’t make mistakes at Rangers. That puts a wee bit more pressure on the goalkeeper, but that’s what I’m here for.”

Alexander acknowledged that McGregor’s recent stellar form means he can have little complaints about not featuring more in the Rangers first-team this season.

“Allan’s the established first-choice and I can’t grumble. He’s been doing really well and is in a rich vein of form, so I just have to keep pushing him Monday to Friday and if I get a chance I just have to do the best for myself and for the team.

“You never know, there might be clubs looking at my situation and taking note of what I’ve been doing.”

I really like him would probably still have him above Allan IMO but Allan is great too. The obvious transfer would be selling Allan and Neil coming in.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/ra...ksEnabled=false

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would love it if alexander decided to just do a van der gouw and remain knowing he'll be second place behind shagger

That's what he should do imo, but only if he's getting ALL of the cup games including cup finals.

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For the first time in a few years I'm actually very reassured to know we have two top notch 'Keepers at the club.

Doesn't sound like the guy just wants to sit and take a decent wage packet, which is very commendable. I hope he stays, but I really can't see him getting much game time! An impossible position for both him & the club!

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If we hadn't rescued him he would still be in the lower end of the championship and having to endure "Keano" telling him he is a disgrace to his profession etc.

With his career I think he should be grateful to be our back up keeper.

Now THAT is a good point fella.

I agree, essentially he is too good to be benched, but, he isnt as good as McGregor, so, number 2 is his role. In all honesty, I would prefer to be number 2 at Rangers, than number one elsewhere

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would love it if alexander decided to just do a van der gouw and remain knowing he'll be second place behind shagger

That's what he should do imo, but only if he's getting ALL of the cup games including cup finals.

From our point of view yes, but Neil wants to play and you cant blame him fot not wanting to sit on the bench for 80% of the season.

Far too good a keeper not to be playing week in week out. He would be a starting regular for most sides

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McGregor -- who deserves to be #1 -- is our prime asset. I'd be amazed if he's still with us after January. Neil is more than an adequate replacement. But, in Europe, AM has been nothing short of World Class. Not sure if Neil can play to that level? In the SPL, he's fine.

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I agree with the majority of above posts. Think Mcgregor is the better keeper but Alexander is still very good and would be more than a suitable No.1 for us. If I was Wally I'd be looking to cash in on Mcgregor and have Alex as No.1. Better to do that than lose Alexander, then have Greegs leave a year after and were screwed. Should get more 4 Mcgregor than any of our outfield players as well and have a more than capable replacement at the club already. When Bougy no doubt leaves in Jan or the Summer we WILL have to replace him. Id be happy to Wilson and 1 other.....Weir and Mcculloch no where near good enough next year.

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If we hadn't rescued him he would still be in the lower end of the championship and having to endure "Keano" telling him he is a disgrace to his profession etc.

With his career I think he should be grateful to be our back up keeper.

Now THAT is a good point fella.

I agree, essentially he is too good to be benched, but, he isnt as good as McGregor, so, number 2 is his role. In all honesty, I would prefer to be number 2 at Rangers, than number one elsewhere

He's not a Rangers fan though, so it's not really comparable.

He's a professional footballer. Any professional who is happy playing second fiddle is wrong IMO, but that's for another thread....

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If we hadn't rescued him he would still be in the lower end of the championship and having to endure "Keano" telling him he is a disgrace to his profession etc.

With his career I think he should be grateful to be our back up keeper.

Now THAT is a good point fella.

I agree, essentially he is too good to be benched, but, he isnt as good as McGregor, so, number 2 is his role. In all honesty, I would prefer to be number 2 at Rangers, than number one elsewhere

He's not a Rangers fan though, so it's not really comparable.

He's a professional footballer. Any professional who is happy playing second fiddle is wrong IMO, but that's for another thread....

Any footballer surely would rather be playing than waiting for someone to get injured so they get the chance to play.

Look at Graeme Smith he moved on finally after being number 3 for donks.

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