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A view to the future - Ovie Ejaria

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When Steven Gerrard decided to take on the extremely daunting challenge of being manager at Rangers, he made sure to take some familiar faces north of the border with him, one of them being Liverpool academy graduate midfielder Ovie Ejaria.

 

Ejaria is a player who seems to have been on the scene for quite a while, but the former Arsenal junior is still only 21 years old. 

 

Having spent the second half of last season on loan at Sunderland where he played 11 times, he has already made double the number of appearances for the Glasgow giants (25).

 

In the latest instalment of our 'A view to the future series', Jason Harris caught up with lifelong Rangers fans David Brown (@sharpdiv7) and CJ Novo (@CjNovo992) to discuss in depth the impact Ovie has made in the SPL so far. 

 

What were your first impressions of Ovie Ejaria when he arrived at the club?

 

DB- When Ejaria arrived at the club it was exciting. He was young and coming from a great club, but many times Rangers have loaned young players from top clubs in England and been let down so there was still a lot of doubt with the fans.

 

We had heard he was a creative midfielder with good dribbling skills and he would be able to breeze through the Scottish league, but like most players Ovie found this wasn’t the case and in his first 3-5 games he really underperformed. He spent way too much time on the ball and gave it away persistently, but Steven Gerrard kept playing him. What I noticed though was even when playing bad by 85 minutes he was still fresh and the fittest on the park. 

 

It goes without saying that when you put on a Rangers shirt a lot of expectation goes along with it. How has Ovie dealt with that pressure and adapted to the Scottish Premiership in your opinion?

 

CJ - I think the big man handles it well and seems to thrive on it. Every kick or late push he gets he seems to relish it and even sometimes welcomes the contact as he holds off players. He's been kicked a few times now and every single time he gets up and gets on with the job, his temperament has been really impressive.

 

ovie1.jpg

 

Along with regular first team action in the league, Rangers are battling it out on the European front. How has he performed under the bright lights of Ibrox in the Europa League?

 

DB- One game in particular comes to mind. Rangers went over to Russia to face FC UFA knowing avoiding defeat would allow us to progress to the group stages of the Europa League. In the first 15 minutes he unleashed a curling effort from outside the box to put us 1-0 up away in Russia. Ultimately this goal put us through as we went on to concede later in the contest.

 

In other matches he has been immense. He was a key player at home to Rapid Wien in a 3-1 victory. He gives Rangers a different dynamic, a composed midfielder who can dribble past players making them tired as they chase after him. He has the ability to play the killer pass and links up very well with Ryan Kent. 

 

What is the one key part of Ovie's game that you really like?

 

CJ- His biggest asset is definitely his strength on the ball his ability to pick the ball up in tight areas and hold off a few opponents. He reminds me a little of (Mousa) Dembele at Spurs in the way he welcomes the challenges and looks to hold off people as he moves with the ball.

 

In your opinion, what is the one main improvement he can make?

 

DB- He has to keep his concentration levels high and track runners. In our 1-0 defeat to Celtic he is seen letting Oliver Ntcham run off his shoulder on a Celtic counter attack and ultimately score the winning goal. He has also said that he must get more assists and goals.

 

Is there a performance by Ovie that stands out for you so far this season?

 

CJ- I think his best performance so far for me was against UFA in the Europa league group stages. Playing away to a hard working team was always going to be difficult, but Ejaria really made a statement scoring a thunderous shot from outside the box bending it brilliantly into the top corner to set us on our way

 

Constantly being on loan can end up having a negative impact on a young Footballer. With that said, how important for Ovie is it to have familiar faces like Steven Gerrard and Jon Flanagan there to keep his morale up during any difficult moments he may have during the season?

 

DB- It is very important for him to have familiar faces around him. Flan, Stevie and Ryan Kent are key figures, but I also think he is a lad who would take great guidance from experienced pros who have experienced a lot in their careers. For example Allan MacGregor or Scott Arfield who has had Premier League experience with Burnley in the same position. 

 

He will learn from these players and I think he has gained more experience than Liverpool would have thought at this stage, because I don’t think anyone thought Rangers would get through four qualifiers to get into the Europa League group stages. Ovie will be fine and I believe he will come back to Liverpool and try his very hardest to break into that senior squad.

 

We regularly see Premier League clubs send their young players into the Championship to gain first team experience. Do you think it is a clever move by the Liverpool hierarchy to send prospects to a club like Rangers where you have to have a sharp focus as every game is like a cup final for your opponents?

 

CJ- I really do. Playing for a team like Rangers every performance is crucial, every game especially these days is vital to win in the league, fighting on all fronts that is what the supporters demand. So I think its a great move by Liverpool instead of sending him down to the Championship, he gets to come up and feel that pressure and demand from the fans, whilst also experiencing European football which will make him and (Ryan) Kent better players in the long run.


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He's our most interesting young player, imo. Don't really know if he's the best as I don't follow them all, but he's got the body type where if he develops the technique to a good level, he could really become something. 

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2 hours ago, Jay H said:

Not good news. Hopefully Stevie can change Ovie's mindset as he has shown some promise in the first half of the season.

 

 

https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/rangers/ovie-ejaria-rangers-boss-steven-gerrard-voices-concern-over-quiet-kid-1-4844499

The Scottish press are pushing its too physically and he isn't interested. Well he manged in half a season in the Championship and this new story has come out on the back of plenty of reports that he has been gdtting abuse from Rangers fans. And not unsurprisingly phrase like Spear Chucker and Banana Boats have been thrown at him, by Rangers fans. I'd rather bring the lad back that let him deal with that shit. Wouldn't be adverse to bringing Kent back too, you don't help a club out if they are going to try that shit

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I think he believes plenty and he's a good player, just maybe struggles to motivate himself at times.  Confidence to impose himself on the game will come because he has class, in the right support structure he'll be well set.  There were a few that didn't like him at the start of the season, then he had a good run which shut them up for a while, then a knock followed by a slow return and it seems the patience isn't there from those fans (maybe those who wanted to be proven right about their negativity, blind to how self-defeating it is).  It's a real shame if it's turned sour but, Stevie or not, fuck 'em if that's the attitude.

 

Not convinced he's going to be ever quite up to the pace to make it for us, but he has real talent and there should be a Championship/Premiership player there.  Bit like Canos and Coady, with the right club for him he'd really establish himself.  Which in itself would be a success for the Academy.

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3 hours ago, Lee909 said:

The Scottish press are pushing its too physically and he isn't interested. Well he manged in half a season in the Championship and this new story has come out on the back of plenty of reports that he has been gdtting abuse from Rangers fans. And not unsurprisingly phrase like Spear Chucker and Banana Boats have been thrown at him, by Rangers fans. I'd rather bring the lad back that let him deal with that shit. Wouldn't be adverse to bringing Kent back too, you don't help a club out if they are going to try that shit

Where did this come from?

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My Dad & brother both go to most Rangers games & reckon he's been shite.

 

If he's not cutting it in the SPL I can't see him ever making it at Liverpool unless there is something more sinister going on. I've not heard about any of the racist stuff until reading this thread though.

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19 minutes ago, Captain Turdseye said:

Stig shared the ‘Spear Chucker’ comment on here after someone posted it one of the Rangers forums he likes to go on. 

It was shared on Twitter you fucking queg. 

 

You probably posted it on there being the massive 'Ger' that you apparently are. 

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10 hours ago, Jay H said:

Ovie is heading to Reading on loan until the end of the season. Hope he is more settled there than he was in Glasgow.

 

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11669/11601086/liverpool-midfielder-ovie-ejaria-joins-reading-on-loan-until-end-of-season

Best thing about Reading is its proximity to the M4

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