Ryan Jack is a 26-year-old Scottish international who plays for Rangers. Jack is right-footed player. He started his career at Aberdeen. Jack was a member of the Aberdeen set-up for 17 years. In 2010, he became a first-team member. Jack recorded 250 appearances for Aberdeen and scored 11 goals for this club. During this time, he was a member of all Scottish young national teams.
He recorded 21 appearances for the under-21 national team. He captained the under-21 side and is on the top ten list for total appearances at this level. In 2017, he moved to Rangers. Jack signed a three-year contract. After joining Rangers, he said to The Scottish Sun:
“I was a Rangers fan growing up, my mum’s side were all Rangers fans.“
In his first season at Rangers, he played 17 games. He had a knee injury. Jack was injured in late December and missed the rest of the season. On September 11, Jack debuted for Scotland national team. This season, he has recorded 15 appearances in the Scottish Premiership. At start of the season, he had calf problems and he missed a few games. He has scored one goal for Rangers, that goal was in Old Firm derby.
Under Steven Gerrard, Rangers usually play in a 4-3-3 formation. Ryan Jack plays as number six. In the image above, we can see Jack’s heatmap. He is a very important player for Steven Gerrard. He has covered a whole box-to-box pitch zone. Jack is hard-working player and is very important for Rangers’ defence and also for Rangers’ attacking and transition play.
He possesses great stamina and that allows him to cover a large part of the pitch. This is his greatest strength. Sometimes, Rangers play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Rangers play in a 4-2-3-1 formation with a double pivot. Jack plays usually with Ross McCrorie beside him.
Jack is very important for Rangers’ build-up play. Jack drops deep to help in the build-up up play. He forms triangles with centre-backs to progress the ball. If it is necessary, Jack drops very deep to help centre-backs with ball progression. In the image below, we can see this situation. He forms a triangle to make build-up play easier.
In the image below we can see his movement. He did not get the ball. But he moved to the right side of the pitch, thus allowing his centre-back to pass the ball.
In the image below, we can see how he is assessing his surroundings. He organises the actions even if he is not in ball possession. Sometimes even with the hand, he directs the addition of his teammates to the play.
Jack loves to be close to the ball when his team is in ball possession. He is moving all over the pitch to form triangles. He plays as a number six and has freedom in attack. If the ball is on the right side, then he moves to right side. If the ball is on the left side, then he moves to the left side.
He is not a technically gifted player. He doesn’t display composure when he has the ball. He knows that he is technically limited and he doesn’t hold up the ball. Jack would rather pass the ball as soon as possible. This means that he can have problems with high pressing. Technique and composure are very important for pressing resistance. His passing statistics are very good. He has recorded 47.79 passes per game this season, 89.96% of them accurately. The most common of his passes were forward passes (14.45 per game). He has recorded 0.45 through-passes per game this season and 6.64 passes to the final third.
Jack usually moves in the box-to-box zone. Jack often doesn’t go into the final third. He often arrives late in opponents’ area. But he can make a good through-ball when he is in ball possession in this area.
In the image above, we can see that Jack arrives late in the final third. In this image, six players are in front of him. He posses great stamina and he secures defensive safety in case the team loses the ball.
He can recognise a free space and use it. Sometimes, he runs into free space, but sometimes, he enables his teammates to use it. In the image below, we can see the next situation. Jack ran with the ball and noticed free space. Then, he played a one-two pass with his teammate and continued with his run into this free space.
In the image below, Jack scanned the situation. He recognised free space which could be used. After that, he passed the ball to Tavernier. Tavernier then passed the ball after his teammate ran into this space.
Sometimes Jack has problems with passes received. He has on average 29.59 received passes per match. But, against stronger teams, he goes notably under that average. He is not good in receiving the ball under pressure.
In the images below, we can see statistics in matches against Celtic and Villarreal. Against Celtic, Jack received only 11 passes and against Villarreal, 18 passes. Against Celtic, he received passes mostly on the flank. Against Villarreal, he did not have even one pass to the final third. This season, Jack recorded six key passes.
Jack doesn’t shoot often. He recorded on average 0.69 shots per match. He scored only one goal for Rangers. But, that goal was against Celtic in 1-0 victory. On average he won in 56.2% attacking duels.
Jack is very important player for the defence. He doesn’t go forward often. When Rangers are in possession, he stays deeper. Usually, six or seven players are in front of him. He has a “safety” role. He posses great stamina and in case the team loses the ball, he can quickly return back. He possesses great anticipation. Like in attack, he loves to be close to the ball. He moves to the zone where the ball is.
In the image above, opponent player clears the ball, but Jack anticipated and he came first to the ball. He recorded on average 4.97 interceptions per match. He posses great reading of the game. In the image below, we can see that the ball is on right side and Jack runs on that side.
He is hard-working player. In defence, Rangers play in a 4-1-4-1 formation. He plays as defensive midfielder. Jack protects his defensive line and space in front of them. He sits in front of the backline and marks the zone. He likes to be close to the ball, but if is it necessary, he moves to unprotected space. We can see that situation in the below image.
He recorded, on average, 10.05 recoveries per match (49.9% on opposition half). He is not successful in aerial duels. He has won on average only 34.2% of them.
Sometimes, he drops deep to help his defence. In the images below, we can see those situations. He dropped deep and forms a back-five together with his defence.
When Rangers have an attacking corner, Jack stays on the edge of the area. He can shoot from that position and he can protect his goal if Rangers lose the ball.
Ryan Jack is one of the most important players for Rangers. He is important for all phases of the game. In the attacking phase, he helps in build-up play. In the defensive phase, he helps his defence. Jack is very important for transitional phase, because he posses great stamina. Stamina, positioning and anticipation are his biggest strenghts. These attributes make him a good defensive player. He covers a huge part of the pitch.
He tries to form triangles all over the pitch to secure numerical superiority. His weaknesses are technique and off-the-ball movement. This means that he is not pressing resistant. Also, he has problems with receiving ball under pressure. In my opinion, Jack would fit in an inverted left-back position. Because he possesses great stamina, he is a good defensive player and he is good in his passing game. He moves all around the pitch and tries to form triangles. That is important for ball progression.
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