By Noel Whelan

18th Sep, 2021 | 7:45am

Pundit excited by 'massive news' about Rangers star Ryan Jack

The potentially imminent return of Ryan Jack is “massive news” for Rangers.

That is according to ex-Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the difference the Scotland midfielder can make when he is back playing.

Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that Jack is closing in on a playing return as he looks to step up his training load.

The 29-year-old has not played for nearly seven months after suffering calf and back injuries.

Steven Gerrard has admitted the return of Jack can’t come soon enough and that is a stance echoed by Whelan.

“Yes, absolutely, he is an integral player in that Rangers midfield,” the ex-Leeds United striker told Football Insider. “It’s massive news for Rangers and Steven Gerrard that he is closing in on a comeback.

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“Getting him back on the pitch after so long will be like a new signing.

“You can see him much better Rangers would be with him, including on Thursday night against Lyon when his energy and leadership were sorely missed.

“Steven knows that Ryan Jack is irreplaceable as he is the heartbeat of the team.

“Yes, Rangers won the league without him and have won plenty of matches when he hasn’t played. But, when the team is struggling or needs dragging out of a hole, Ryan Jack is the player you want in the team.”

Jack has made 130 appearances for Rangers since joining on a free transfer from Aberdeen.

But he has also missed 92 matches for the club due to injury or suspension.

In other news, expert can’t believe what Rangers have done behind the scenes after BBC Scotland update.