Kyle Lafferty will start for Rangers says Steven Gerrard

Northern Ireland and Rangers Kyle Lafferty
Northern Ireland and Rangers Kyle Lafferty

Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard has confirmed that Kyle Lafferty will lead the line for Rangers against Villarreal on Thursday night in the Europa League.

The Northern Ireland international will come in for the suspended Alfredo Morelos – and the Ibrox boss wasted no time in underlining his faith in the striker.

“Kyle will lead the line for us. I don’t think there’s any secrets there. He goes into the game in good form and in a good place.

“He’s the type of player whom Villarreal won’t be used to playing against on a weekly basis. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play.”

Lafferty himself made it clear that he is determined to seize the opportunity.

“Alfredo missing is a big blow for us but it gives myself the chance to show the gaffer what I’m capable of doing.

“I’m confident in my own ability to cause problems in their defence. Hopefully we can get the result we want.

“To return to the club after the past year is a dream come true. Not everyone gets the chance to play for Rangers once – I’ve been lucky enough to do so twice.

“Everything that went wrong before I’m going to put right this time.”

And Lafferty underlined that he is now a different player to the one who left the club in 2012.

“I’ve matured as a player. I played in Switzerland which helped my game enormously. I’ve also played for Northern Ireland which obviously helped me as well. Overall my maturity on the pitch has come on by leaps and bounds.”

Gerrard however did stress that as far as he is concerned it’s not simply a case of selecting either / or as far as the two strikers are concerned.

“First and foremost, it’s important to emphasise that Kyle and Alfredo are not in competition.

“They’re both Rangers strikers who get on with each other very well. There will be a time when one starts and the other comes on, and there will be times when it’s the other way around. There will also be times when they’ll play together.”