Since Michael Beale’s arrival at the club as manager, Ryan Kent is back to playing his best football, and Rangers must ensure he signs a new contract. The 26-year-old was floundering under the previous manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Kent was involved in a training video from one of van Bronckhort’s first sessions where the Dutchman’s first-team coach Roy Makaay said to Kent, “keep it simple, tricks are for the circus.”
The Englishman was a shadow of his former self under the Dutchman, and it was clear that the confidence and flair he had under former manager Steven Gerrard was gone. Kent was restricted, and it appeared that he was second-guessing every decision he’d make on the pitch. It had taken until October last year for Kent to score his first goal of 2022, and before the World Cup break, some of the Rangers faithful were content in selling the winger in January or even letting his contract run out in the summer.
Beale is perfect for Kent and knows exactly how to get the best out of him, with their relationship dating back to their time at Liverpool, where Kent was coming through the academy, and Beale was a coach there. Speaking about their long-term relationship, Beale said: “People think it’s all about tactics, but it’s actually about the relationships you have, and the feeling you have towards the other person in that relationship,” said Beale of his approach as a manager.
“Make that journey very personal. I’ve lived that with Ryan Kent for example, from 14 until now. To be fair with Ryan, it’s a look. If I give him a certain look, and then he gives me a look. We have known each other for so long. Ryan and I have always been at complete ease with each other. I have always been a strong guide on his journey.
There is honesty. We’ve only spoken on the phone two times ever in 12 years. The first was when I rang him to see if he was coming to Rangers, and he said he wasn’t sure if he was good enough. Believe it or not. And then last Friday when he asked to find out if I was coming back.”
Beale continued and said Kent is a player who cares a lot and can be sensitive: “Can you imagine being his parents at times? People have to remember it’s someone’s son out there. Listen, I trust him. I think sometimes he wants to do so well that he does too much and confuses himself.”
“He is sensitive. He thinks a lot, and he cares a lot. That probably comes out sometimes in his body language. We had a conversation, all of us, with him a few years ago when there was a lot in the media about a club being after him. He said he didn’t want to leave here until he had won. So fair play to him. They are the background conversations people don’t see.”
Beale was asked to give an update on Kent’s contract situation and how negotiations are going: “There is no news on that at the moment,” he said. “No news whatsoever at the moment. When there is, we will update everybody.”
Kent is one of Rangers’ key players, and when he’s not playing, there is a massive void in the team. He has 33 goals and 55 assists so far for the light blues. There has been interest from Championship side Burnley who are currently top of the league and on the brink of gaining promotion.
The tricky winger is back enjoying his football playing under a manager with whom he has a strong relationship. However, returning to England to play in the Premier League could be too tempting and difficult for him to turn down. This is why the Rangers board must offer Kent the strongest deal possible, as he will only get even better under Beale’s guidance and management.
By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Craig Williamson – SNS Group