Sunderland snub shows Rangers' Ross McCrorie would improve any League One side - but what for Pompey's other midfielders?

The indications all point towards the same conclusion.

Saturday, 6th July 2019, 6:30 am
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 10:57 am

From his past managers’ comments, the lowdown from the Scottish press and reaction from Rangers supporters, one thing seems fairly certain – Ross McCrorie will be a hit at Pompey.

The midfielder has signed a season-long loan at Fratton Park and the news has gone down a storm in the PO area.

He arrives to bolster the Blues’ engine-room options ahead of next season’s League One promotion push – an area some sections of the Fratton faithful believe desperately needed strengthening.

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And the more you survey the 21-year-old's profile, the more it’s looks an astute piece of business from Kenny Jackett.

In fact, it appears a statement of intent to the rest of Pompey’s League One rivals.

McCrorie moves to the south coast with Gers supporters aplenty ruing the loss.

They feel he should have firmly been a part of Steven Gerrard’s plans next season, especially as the Ibrox boss has previously stated he sees McCrorie as a future skipper.

From left to right: Bryn Morris, Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon

The Scotland under-21 international featured 30 times for the Glasgow outfit last season.

Seven of those outings came in the Europa League, while he was involved in three Old Firm matches.

If Jackett was searching for a player with big-game experience then McCrorie emphatically fits the bill. They don’t come much more heated than Rangers v Celtic.

Then add in the fact Sunderland apparently attempted to hijack the move.

Jack Ross likely thought his Scottish roots could persuade McCrorie to move to the Stadium of Light.

Evidently, that wasn't a big enough pull for the Ayehsire-born ace to do a U-turn.

Nevertheless, the fact a promotion rival were also keen suggests McCrorie will improve any side with designs on reaching the Championship next season.

However, the question now is: what happens with Pompey’s current central-midfield options?

Jackett has stated he wants two players competing for every position.

With McCorie's arrival, though, it means he'll have a surplus in the middle of the park.

Tom Naylor and Ben Close spent the second half of last term as Jackett’s favoured pairing in his 4-2-3-1 system.

Both enjoyed fine campaigns and will be a firm part of the boss’ plans.

Therefore, that could mean Andy Cannon or Bryn Morris head out on loan to get crucial minutes under their belt.

The January arrivals both suffered from injuries during the second half of last term and were unable to make a significant impact as the Blues suffered play-off semi-final defeat.

It’s Cannon who’s more versatile of the duo. Able to operate as in a holding-midfield role, further forward or, if required, at right-back, the former Rochdale man would give Jackett more flexibility.

But Morris’ pedigree as a former England youth skipper who Jackett has waxed lyrical about in the pass will stand him in good stead.

He arguably has the range of passing none of the central midfielders possess.

It’ll be tough one to call for the Pompey boss – and may be decided on who impresses more in pre-season.