DAILY RECORD 🔵 Kieran Dowell vents his Rangers ‘frustration’ in honest first season verdict – Shango Media
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DAILY RECORD 🔵 Kieran Dowell vents his Rangers ‘frustration’ in honest first season verdict

DAILY RECORD 🔵 Kieran Dowell vents his Rangers ‘frustration’ in honest first season verdict

Kieran Dowell is the first to admit the Ibrox support didn’t see the best of him last season. Mostly because they barely saw him at all.

The former Norwich playmaker was expected to be a central character as Michael Beale plotted a Rangers resurgence last summer. Instead, he barely made it onto the supporting cast in Govan as a succession of injuries wrecked his first campaign in Glasgow. In total, he made a grand total of just six starts and 10 substitute appearances during a season flavoured with frustration.

There were moments where it looked like he was set to make the kind of contribution Beale envisioned when he lured the former Everton trainee north from Carrow Road. There was a Christmas Eve goal at Motherwell which proved to be the perfect gift as new boss Philippe Clement wrestled with a nightmare injury list.

Celtic.

Now Dowell is hoping to make a more lasting impression on the Rangers support as they gear up for the new campaign. Speaking after thepre-season bounce game with Standard Liege, he said: “I’d like to think there is more to come from me.

“I didn’t start many games last season. I think it was four or five games. There wasn’t many appearance either. They’ve not seen the best of me. They’ve not seen much of me in fact.

“Hopefully they can in this coming season. My first year was just so frustrating. Really frustrating. Obviously I was learning a new position as a central midfielder which I hadn’t really played before. That was due to availability and stuff but in amongst that there were injuries, which was so frustrating.

“But I’m feeling good now. I’m feeling fresh, I’ve had a good rest over the summer and I’m fighting fit now. I remember scoring against Motherwell, was going well, then got another knock. That’s how it went – but that’s football for you.

“You can sulk all you want about it but it’s happened, I’m past it and feeling strong again. How do I lean on in those moments? Everyone at the club. The lads here are a good group to keep you humble. If you’re getting ahead of yourself, they will put you down or they will keep you going if you’re down. It’s a good group of lads for that. And obviously my family and friends were a great help too.”

Dowell walked off the pitch after that thriller with Celtic believing he’d helped get Gers out of jail after they’d twice fallen two goals down to Brendan Rodgers team before fighting back through Abdallah Sima and a Rabbi Matondo screamer.

His reward for his part was a rare start at Ross County the following week. But the defeat in Dingwall had major consequences not only for Rangers’ title chances.



Rangers’ Kieran Dowell scores against Livingstom

He said: “That was obviously a tough day for every player on the pitch. I started that game but I don’t think anyone really had a great game that day. You end up suffering because of that – it happens but that’s football. You end up out of the team and the only thing to do then is to keep training and keep working hard.”

The mood of despair that hung over Ibrox at the end of last season has barely shifted, with fresh uproar coming after it was announced Clement’s side will have to vacate Ibrox for a number of weeks after a construction cock-up on the Copland Road.

All that has done has heaped more pressure on the Light Blues as they try to balance the hugely important twin aims of starting the Premiership season fast while also qualifying for the Champions League. Dowell may only have been in Glasgow a year but it’s long enough for him to know there will be an almighty meltdown if either of those ambitions take a hit. But he’s also learned from last season the importance of not over-reacting to an early setback.

“The biggest lesson is to realise that we’re never out of it,” he said. With the start we had last year and losing the manager who signed me, everyone thinks it’s all over. You see the Press and it seems like it’s done – but it wasn’t.

“It was back in our hands by the end of the season. So you just never know when you’re out of it. Is it important to have a faster start this season?

“Ideally not but you are not out of it if that happens. I was probably, in my first season, thinking ‘we are off it here’ and we weren’t. Obviously you want a fast start but it is a long season as well.”

Dowell was one of nine new signings to check in last summer. So far Clement had added five this time but with more set to follow, he’s making sure he helps the summer recruits settle in.

He said: “I always try to welcome the new lads. I think everyone does, it’s a good group for that kind of thing. There’s a good few lads who have come in now and it’s good to see everyone working hard on the pitch.

“We’ve had a short break, we’ve freshened up and the lads are focused again on getting right back at it. Obviously every season is a massive season for this club but hopefully we can do well.”

Clement might not have been the man who signed him, but Dowell is enjoying the close bond with his current Belgian boss. On the encouraging signs he sees in his relationship with Clement, he said: “I think it is the amount that he uses me.

“He’s a really good coach in training and he helps you a lot. He has taught me a lot about learning new roles as a central midfielder. He has added a few strings to my bow already, which is great. He wants you to play, he encourages you to try stuff. He’s a good manager.”

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