Football fans are notoriously fickle. You’re only as good as your last game, you’re only three games away from a crisis etc etc. Everything hinges on that 90 minutes on whatever day TV has dictated that it gets played on.
Alfredo Morelos continues to split opinion amongst Rangers fans. He has finished as one of our top goal contributors, not only scoring nearly 20 goals but also having a hand in creating several more. The partnership between Morelos and Windass contributed to more than 50 goals throughout the season and saw us finish as top goal scorers in the league. What’s not to like?
It dawned on me whilst listening to an excellent Heart and Hand podcast with Chris Bett reviewing Dado Prso’s life and times in a blue jersey. He accurately painted the picture of Prso the warrior. He was combative, aggressive and never gave the defenders a minute’s peace and it reminded me of someone. Although not as imposing in stature, Alfredo possesses similar traits to the fondly remembered Croatian warhorse but isn’t held in anywhere near the same regard.
Prso was tailor made to lead the line on his own. He had a great work rate and “team first” attitude, he could hold the ball up all day long, would run into the channels and could beat a man without having devastating pace. He was a decent finisher but was capable of the sublime too. He did all of this with a smile on his face and a positive aggression, dragging his often-inferior team mates up to his level. And this is where the fundamental difference with Morelos lies.
Morelos has scored and assisted goals at roughly the same rate as Dado Prso. Prso played with players of the calibre of Stefan Klos, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Barry Ferguson and Shota Arveladze. Morelos has played with Jason Holt, Russell Martin and Dalcio.
Prso already spoke English and arrived having played a “normal” continental European season, Morelos played almost a full season in Finland before coming to Rangers meaning he has played almost 18 months without a break and doesn’t speak a word of English. Prso also played in a relatively settled team, certainly with a settled (and competent) manager, Morelos, well, settled this season hasn’t been!
If, and it’s a big if, Morelos stays there are three things he has to do to truly endear himself to the Ibrox faithful.
He has to score against Celtic, ideally, he has to score a winner against Celtic. This will almost instantly change how he is valued.
He has to start to show signs that he is learning the language, it again is just a matter of perception. It shows that he wants to settle, that he wants to be here and communicate with his team mates more effectively.
Finally, his response to missing chances, it happens, every top striker misses chances. We’ve seen Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Messi et al all miss sitters this season but it is how they respond that separates them from the rest. Morelos has to show a more positive response to missing goal scoring opportunities and stop the sulking, it just doesn’t look good.
Personally, I don’t think Alfredo Morelos should have to change to become more valued, he already offers a great deal for a young and inexperienced player. When we signed Prso he was fresh from the Champions League Final and at the peak of his powers, just to add further perspective to what Morelos could be capable of.
I hope he stays, with better players around him and a stable backroom staff Morelos could really kick on and become a wonderful player. If he cuts out the silly misses and shooting when there are obviously better options on he could easily become a 25 goals per season striker.
Time will tell, but if he can learn to play with a smile on his face we may yet see him become a Rangers legend, and more importantly, as the driving force to 55.