Alan Hutton has been left fuming after Ianis Hagi was told to look for a move away from Rangers ahead of the January window.
The former Gers and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admitted it was “strange” to hear Brazil legend Rivaldo claim the 22-year-old needed to consider his future at Ibrox after just a year in Glasgow.
Speaking to Betfair, the 1999 Ballon d’Or winner urged Hagi to hold crunch talks over his Rangers career and to push for a move away if game time is not forthcoming under Steven Gerrard.
The Romania star has started 15 times in 21 appearances for the Gers this season, although he has only featured in the starting XI once in the last nine league games.
Hutton has rubbished Rivaldo’s claims and insisted Hagi, who joined for £3million in the summer, needed to put in the hard yards to establish himself in a competitive Rangers side.
Hutton told Football Insider: “I mean, I understand everybody wants to play football, I get it – he’s only 22, there’s plenty of time.
“Look, he’s come to a different country and he’s playing at one of the top teams who are playing unbelievably well. Sometimes that happens, there’s people playing in your position that are just playing, at that moment in time, a lot better, and you have to bide your time, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s competition, that’s part of being at a big club and that’s something he’s probably not used to. So you can’t just, after a few months, decide to say: ‘Right, I’m not playing, I’m out.’ You’re there to help the team for the long run, to become better, to learn. All these different things.
“You can’t just decide after a short time that you’re going to jump ship me – I don’t really know why Rivaldo’s coming out and saying that, it’s a bit strange – but I think it’s all about working hard and trying to fight your way back into the team is, that’s how you do it within big clubs.”
Rivaldo told Betfair: “Perhaps with the help of his father, working as his agent, he might try to find an alternative at another club to keep playing regularly in order to continue his development as a player and to ensure he doesn’t lose too much confidence by continuing as a substitute at Rangers.
“I would advise him to find out if there are more chances coming at Rangers soon, or if he should search for another club where he could prove his value.”