Steven Gerrard has challenged Jordan Jones to kick-start his Rangers career after making a return to first-team action following three months on the sidelines through injury.
The Northern Ireland international made his first appearance since being sent off and crocked in the defeat to Celtic in September as the Gers beat Lokomotiv Trashkent in Dubai on Saturday afternoon.
Jones was given the second half of the friendly and helped round off a 6-1 victory for Gerrard’s side as he won a penalty and then set up Greg Stewart to add to his strike from the spot in the final seconds.
Jones is attracting interest from Stoke, Blackburn and Middlesbrough but Gerrard believes his summer recruit still has plenty to offer.
Gerrard said: “We’ve had nothing on the table, we’re aware of the speculation but he’s one of probably six to eight players where there is speculation and a lot of noise around them.
“He’s a good player but he’s had a frustrating time. He started his Rangers’ career really strong and it looked like he was going to contribute really heavily and then he was missing 12 weeks.
“Just before the break, we were waiting for the real Jordan to stand up but he probably just ran out of time but on [Saturday’s] evidence, he looks like he’s come back with the bit between his teeth and that’s what I want to see. I want to see him trying to force his way into the 11 and he done himself no harm. I thought his performance was really good.”
Rangers were comfortable winners at the Sevens Stadium as Gerrard continued his preparations for the Scottish Cup clash with Stranraer.
The Gers fielded two separate sides as Allan McGregor, Jamie Murphy and Alfredo Morelos were rested.
Gerrard said: “Football is interesting, it doesn’t matter how big the game or what size the crowd. The big players, the really important players, always stand out.
“Sometimes some push themselves further away from the squad while others do themselves no harm. But always, always the big players stand up.
“The top players, no matter who they are playing against, are always at the top. Steven Davis, Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Jermain Defoe, the normal ones who are consistent week-in-week-out. After a week off they are just class.”