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John Fleck must make an impact in Rangers' hour of need


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John Fleck must make an impact in Rangers' hour of need

WHETHER he stays or goes, the equation for John Fleck remains essentially the same.

Put simply, how the 20-year-old performs in the next five months will define the parameters of his career. Who knows, it may also potentially play a large part in determining the final destination of the 2012 Clydesdale Bank Premier League title.

The Rangers midfielder has been touted as the next big thing pretty much since the pre-season of 2007, when he scored for the club as a 15-year-old against Sportfreunde Lotte in Germany, with a full debut, a subtitute's appearance in the Scottish Cup final, and a brief run in the Ibrox first team following shortly afterwards.

What happened next is a source of some dispute. But whether it has been overhype, injury, loss of form, the scrapping of the SPL reserve league or too much managerial caution about the blooding of young players, the fact of the matter is that Fleck has reached the age of 20 with a paltry 25 starts to his name, with his biggest run of consecutive starting appearances being three. No wonder both the player and manager Ally McCoist had reluctantly come to the conclusion that his immediate future was best served getting regular competitive football elsewhere.

Until Monday, the promise of six months on loan at Blackpool, with an option for a permanent deal at the end of the season, had seemed like the best option, marginally preferrable to a loan arrangement at a League One Sheffield United side, who had been just seven minutes late in concluding a deal in July. But with Nikica Jelavic appearing to be on his way out of Ibrox and omitted from the squad against Motherwell at the weekend, Kyle Lafferty sustaining a hamstring injury within minutes and Thomas Bendiksen departing for Tromso, suddenly the goalposts appear to have moved.

So short are Rangers in creativity that suddenly Fleck appears almost indispensable, and incorporating the player in a central area behind David Healy in a 4-5-1 shape seems like Ally McCoist's most likely short-term option. Somewhat fortuitously for Fleck, it is also probably his best position, as anyone who witnessed him excel in that role against then Premier League side Portsmouth last pre season would surely testify.

"He is Rangers daft and always desperate to play but he has been used sparingly for whatever reason," one source close to the player said last night. "But he has had a real fright, he knows his Rangers career could have been over and he needs to go and play now. If he had gone to Blackpool that would be the biggest six months of his life and I still think that is the case now."

Such an eventuality could even rekindle his international hopes. Fleck was a stand-out for Scotland in the youth ranks, but has fallen out of favour with Under-21 coach Billy Stark. "John is a player with loads of ability but he needs a long run of first-team football as he's never done that," Stark said recently. "It's difficult to judge players, especially at the Old Firm, when they get in to the twilight zone."

Considering Fleck has still to start a single competitive match all season, it seems rather unfair to ask him to go on and single-handedly propel Rangers to the title, but the good news for supporters of the Ibrox club is that he is unlikely to lack for motivation. While the likes of Juanma Ortiz, Alejandro Bedoya and Matt McKay have all struggled to come to terms with the expectations at Ibrox, Fleck is a boyhood fan of the club who grew up watching his uncle Robert playing for the side. Compared to those expensive foreign imports, those who watch the player at close quarters have been surprised at times that he hasn't featured more. The Old Firm isn't always the most forgiving environment for a young player to do their growing up – ask Charlie Adam about that – but no-one would be happier than Fleck if he could hold down a place in the side. A widely reported bust-up with McCoist in pre-season in Germany in the summer of 2009 is thought to have been blown out of proportion.

Reasons to be cheerful are in decidedly short supply at Ibrox, but Fleck isn't the only Murray Park graduate who may just be capable of putting smiles back on faces. Jordan McMillan, the right-back, is thought to be have started discussions over an extended deal to stay on at the club while, crucially, Jamie Ness could be fit to resume his career by the end of the month. Ness is a hugely promising midfielder who has required all manner of specialist treatment to combat pelvic problems as his young frame continues to grow.

A Rangers side deprived of its former strength and depth could provide a platform for all three, but by the same token all three are well aware that their chances of a career hang in the balance. It is a big five months for Fleck. And an even bigger five months for Rangers.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/john-fleck-must-make-an-impact-in-rangers-hour-of-need.16359958

We all knew that he was lined up for a move before Lafferty injury, but. I'm surprised he was 6 months away from us letting him go completely. Especially when he has the talent to succeed at our club. I agree with the sentiment, it's a massive 6 months for him though. IMO he's up for the challenge and start to fulfill his potential.

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I like Fleck and would love him to do well at Rangers to me he just needs the games and supporters need to be patient with him as he certainly has the talent.

If he was at a smaller Spl team i think he would have progressed quicker.

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First swatch of the highlights last night vs Morherwell and Flexky's passing was really impressive. If he doesn't get a run in the team now then he will never get a chance again.

Everyone is backing him to succeed and I hope he does. Need to not jump down his throat if he gets slack / misses a couple of chances. If his confidence is high then we will see the best of him (tu)

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I can honestly see him playing a fucking blinder against Arbroath. im talking couple of goals couple of assists and just running the show. I think he really knows this is the best chance he has had in a while to step up and show he can make it at The Rangers :uk:

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The biggest problem John Fleck has is us.

We need to give him a chance to shine, and that means not getting on his back whenever he makes a mistake.

He needs to have the confidence to try things and he'll only get that with our support.

We lack creativity and Fleck can give us that - If we give him time.

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:lol: he wasn't even getting on the bench before we started getting injuries . Also the fact he was being sent out on loan less than a week ago still suggests that he isnt going to make it here . We have been forced to play him .

For what it's worth I really like him and think he will do well given a chance but after the injured attackers come back or a replacement for jelavic is signed should he leave . Fleck will be back down the pecking order IMO

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The biggest problem John Fleck has is us.

We need to give him a chance to shine, and that means not getting on his back whenever he makes a mistake.

He needs to have the confidence to try things and he'll only get that with our support.

We lack creativity and Fleck can give us that - If we give him time.

I'm not having that mate - Fleck's biggest problem is with the guy he sees in the mirror every morning.

He needs to lose the attitude , get the finger out and start repaying our club for the faith we have shown in him by helping The Rangers win this title.

It's time for John to stop looking for excuses IMO or people to blame for his lack of success at Ibrox because the simple truth is if he doesn't succeed at Rangers it will be down to the player himself - and nobody else.

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Play him in the correct position. Just off the striker or in the centre of mid, even push Davis wide.

This has got the feeling of Charlie Adam ...never played in the correct position because of the 'undroppable' players and now look at him. Fleck and Ness are the future.

( I forgot he was only 20!!)

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I remember people dubbing him the scottish Rooney after sub cameo's :dry:

and calls for him to be called upto the Scotland side at 17. Totally random as hell. Cant remember many others having so much hype at that age without being a regular in the first team.

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I'm not having that mate - Fleck's biggest problem is with the guy he sees in the mirror every morning.

He needs to lose the attitude , get the finger out and start repaying our club for the faith we have shown in him by helping The Rangers win this title.

It's time for John to stop looking for excuses IMO or people to blame for his lack of success at Ibrox because the simple truth is if he doesn't succeed at Rangers it will be down to the player himself - and nobody else.

100% Agree with this.

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I'm not having that mate - Fleck's biggest problem is with the guy he sees in the mirror every morning.

He needs to lose the attitude , get the finger out and start repaying our club for the faith we have shown in him by helping The Rangers win this title.

It's time for John to stop looking for excuses IMO or people to blame for his lack of success at Ibrox because the simple truth is if he doesn't succeed at Rangers it will be down to the player himself - and nobody else.

Aye, coz he has been given loads of chances, eh? We sure do play to his strengths, eh? :rolleyes: He was not suited to Walters style of play and has barely had a sniff under Ally. When he makes it at Rangers it will in spite of years under Walter and Ally.

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I remember people dubbing him the scottish Rooney after sub cameo's :dry:

and calls for him to be called upto the Scotland side at 17. Totally random as hell. Cant remember many others having so much hype at that age without being a regular in the first team.

Gutting aint it? Least he never fucked off tae play wae the ROI, well at least they still shag waens there...

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I remember people dubbing him the scottish Rooney after sub cameo's :dry:

and calls for him to be called upto the Scotland side at 17. Totally random as hell. Cant remember many others having so much hype at that age without being a regular in the first team.

Feruz? Liam Miller? Fotheringham? Forrest before he was a regular? Maloney? Bumming up kids, pardon the pun, is a tarrier trait.

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I'll never forget him in the youth cup final, last minute equalizer, (great backheel from Andy Little in extra time!) and that finish into the empty net right at the death.

A sensational performance that night, a great game too.

You don't lose quality, that is for sure.

Fleck just had too much pressure due to the hype before, now he can try to show us the quality that he still possesses.

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