Despite only signing on Monday, Premier League veteran and former West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley has already become a fan favourite at the Ibrox after speaking of his admiration for the club and his goals for the upcoming season.
The 38-year-old, who was a free agent after getting relegated with West Bromwich Albion became Steven Gerrard’s 15th, and likely final, summer signing for Rangers ending what has been a summer of huge upheaval for the “The Bluenoses.”
In an interview with Rangers TV, McAuley spoke about his admiration for the club stating:
I have been here on a European night and the atmosphere is fantastic and electric, and it will be something I really look forward to.
I feel there is a chance to win things here and a chance to be a part of something special.
I’ve played a lot of games in the Premier League, but this club to me is as big as if not even bigger than a lot of the clubs in England.
You see the support – it’s there every week. This is a massive club and for me, to be given the chance to be here, I feel really privileged.
Despite only signing a one year-contract McAuley could be a massive signing for Rangers with his experience and leadership crucial in what is a very young squad.
His impact will be especially useful for Rangers new boys Katic and Goldson who have been the preferred centre-half pairing so far this season.
Yet despite their imposing figures with Katic standing tall at 6ft 3 and Goldson being an equally imposing presence at 6ft 4 they both lack the experience which could come back to bite Rangers further down the road.
The 79-Capped Northern Ireland International would be the perfect mentor for the two, and his presence with the experience he has will raise the performance levels of the entirety of Steven Gerrard’s back line.
Although, make no mistake McAuley isn’t just going North of the Border to put his feet up and collect his wages as his career winds to a close. The 6ft 5 defender is here to play able to fill in as both a centre-half and as a right-back, which could be vital with the amount of games Rangers will have to compete with this season.
Mcauley continued stating:
General fitness-wise, I feel good but in terms of sharpness I have a bit to catch up and I will have to work hard on that over the next couple of weeks to get up to scratch on that.
There are two games coming up and hopefully I can get some minutes under my belt as well in them depending on what the manager thinks.
Whilst McAuley isn’t the most glamorous signing, he is a signing most fans can get behind and understand. A no nonsense Premier League veteran who will help plug Rangers shaky back line, on a free transfer. McAuley wouldn’t start every game, or even come on from the bench.
Yet to have him there to address defensive issues, or to use across the various club competitions “the Teddy Bears” compete in must fill Steven Gerrard with confidence.
He may turn into one of the most vital signings of Gerrard’s tenure? Or he could turn out to be another Bruno Alves? Only time will tell how McAuley will fare in Scotland.