Caixinha will save his job if he makes this player Rangers permanent No10
COMMENT By James Black
Pedro Caixinha will save his job at Ibrox if he makes Carlos Pena Rangers’ permanent number 10.
The Portuguese boss has come under pressure after his side’s poor start to the season – although the Gers do find themselves only six points off Premiership leaders Aberdeen and Celtic.
Pena has struggled to get up to speed with the Scottish game so far but has shown glimpes of quality since his £2.2million move from Chivas Guadalajara.
The physical side of Scottish football is something that’s pretty alien to Pena – and compatriot Eduardo Herrera – and both have taken some time to find their feet.
Pena has won 19 caps for Mexico and has shown he is a very intelligent player with some lovely passes and his, albeit infrequent, movement off-the-ball.
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Caixinha has tried a number of slightly different tactics so far this season and, in recent weeks, has gone back to a 4-2-3-1 with Pena playing just off the main striker.
Against Celtic, Pena’s role was much more defense-orientated with the 27-year-old told to disrupt Scott Brown’s play and force the Bhoys mainstay to play further into his own half.
Pena did this well and it was only once the Mexican was replaced by Kenny Miller did Brown find the space to dictate the tempo of the game.
In matches where Rangers have seen much more possession going forward, the pace sometimes catches Pena out however he does show some very quick feet at times.
His goal against Dundee at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership was a great example, with Pena showing quick reactions to lash the ball home.
Alfredo Morelos looks to be the kind of striker who likes to have someone close by to feed off, and Pena looks more than capable of filling that role.
The midfielder clearly needs to get up to speed but without games, that’s not going to happen and if Caixinha does keep faith with Pena as his number 10, he’ll surely start to reap the benefits.
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