In part two of our exclusive interview with Michael Beale, the new Rangers boss discusses January transfers, the futures of Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, plus the title race.
The 42-year-old has been appointed as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s successor as he returns to the club just over one year since leaving alongside Steven Gerrard after three-and-a-half years as first-team coach.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Beale insists the team will be far stronger when key players return from injury but he will not hesitate to add players if required.
“The guarantees that I have are the same as the last two managers, if players are identified within the budget then the board has always supported that,” he said.
“I lived in that for three-and-a-half years where I felt that at times we tried to push that a little bit to get more than what the club could do, but the club is definitely in a stronger position now.
“What I’ve asked is let me look at the squad first, let me see who is here, let me see who is present.
“I’ve been made aware that there’s definitely an opportunity for the right players, in the right positions.
“Let me not assume anything, let me get in and work with the group.
“We have players like Tom Lawrence and Ianis Hagi that are going to have a huge impact on our team when they’re fit and well.
“Kemar Roofe was the top scorer in the league-winning season and he’s not been available.
“Ben Davies has come into the club and has not really been available yet.
“I think it’s a really strong squad on paper, at the moment we need to get one or two back fit then if we need to strengthen we’ll certainly do that.”
Eleven Ibrox players are out of contract at the end of the season, including Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent.
Beale is hopeful his relationship with the players will help with negotiations but insists it is not just for them to decide.
“They are two players that I’ve worked well with previously,” he added.
“When I was here previously they were both excellent in different ways.
“In Alfredo, in terms of the goals he scored, and Ryan in terms of the way he entertained people and got on the ball and took the game to the opponent.
“I think they’re capable of more than they’re showing right now, that’s fair to say, but they’ll have their own reasons for that and they’ll be working away at that.
“I trust both players and we’ve played this out as a club before with Connor Goldson and his contract situation.
“Sometimes a player wants to see and take their time, there’s no problem, it’s fine. I think the option is both ways with the players, the cards aren’t in Ryan and Alfredo’s hands.
“We also want to create a stronger Rangers going forward, with or without those players. Ideally with them.”
Relationship with Ross Wilson
Sporting director Ross Wilson was instrumental in bringing Beale back to Ibrox as he praised his “clear plan” to take the club forward.
And the new Gers boss believes they will work well together once again.
“I think he was the driver, maybe, in me coming back, along with other members of the board.
“They saw the work I did here before, they saw that I was moving towards being a manager.
“As I say the job Steven did here was incredible, but he was the boss then Gary (McAllister) and myself.
“They obviously saw something in me to invite me back and that gives me the confidence to come in and do the job.
“Myself and Ross have always had a hugely positive relationship because we have a massive enthusiasm for the game and we’re almost like football nerds.
“We watch every game on the tv, we know all the players so we have that in common. We won’t stop night and day to push this club forward.”
Celtic and a title challenge
Beale has a tough challenge ahead as he takes over a Rangers team trailing Celtic by nine points in the Scottish Premiership.
He won the title with Rangers to end their Old Firm rivals’ 10-in-a-row bid and he admits it will be a change in mindset for him.
“It’s going to be difficult, we know that,” he said.
“I think that Ange (Postecoglou) has got a team that’s in momentum and fair play to him for the job that he’s done to this point.
“My job is to chase them down, the player’s job is to chase them down.
“That’s a mentality shift in terms of how we look at things because when I left here we were the ones in front.
“So now the mentality’s shifted and we have to chase them down it starts with winning all the other games, it doesn’t start with games against them.
“We have to get closer. The most important thing right now is we have to reconnect with our fans in terms of the way we play, I think that’s really important.”
December 15: Hibernian (h), Scottish Premiership, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
December 20: Aberdeen (a), Scottish Premiership, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
December 23: Ross County (a), Scottish Premiership, kick-off 7.30pm, live on Sky Sports
December 28: Motherwell (h), Scottish Premiership, kick-off 7.45pm
January 2: Celtic (h), Scottish Premiership, kick-off 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports
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