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Tuesday, April 23

Scottish Premiership

Rangers

Matt Polster: 'I will be ready for Rangers debut'

PA | 1mo
The American midfielder signed a two-and-a-half-year deal in January.

Matt Polster admits he has no idea when he will be offered his next chance by Steven Gerrard after revealing he pulled the plug on his own Rangers debut.

Gerrard handed the American midfielder a two-and-a-half-year deal in January after impressing the Gers boss during a trial stint alongside the Ibrox first-team on their winter training break to Tenerife.

The former Chicago Fire player was then set to get his first run out in front of the Light Blues faithful when Gerrard's men hosted Dundee last month, with his manager confirming he would see some action against Jim McIntyre's strugglers.

But Polster withdrew with a tight groin and has not been seen in a matchday squad since.

The 25-year-old remains determined to fight his way into the Rangers line-up but knows it is now the waiting game after passing up his big chance.

"I'm not actually sure when that time will come," Polster said at a Ladbrokes media event at Knockhill. "I'm building up fitness and getting sharper. I feel a lot better now. When the time's ready I'll definitely be ready.

"It was quite frustrating missing out against Dundee. The manager told me before going out to training that I was going to make my debut – but things didn't happen as I would have liked.

"I didn't feel comfortable and I didn't want to put the team or him in a difficult position where I would start the match but then after 20 or 30 minutes and have to be pulled out.

"I was pretty frustrated by the whole thing.

"From both sides we were a little bit disappointed. He wanted me to be out there and to enjoy that first match. I wanted the same.

"Now it's just about getting back into it and getting my fitness."

Polster's path had crossed with Gerrard even before he arrived for his first Gers trial at the Hummell Training Centre back in December.

The pair faced off during the former Liverpool skipper's two-year spell in the MLS with LA Galaxy and remained in touch after Gerrard took time out after one showdown to give him some advice.

That was thrill for the boyhood Liverpool fan but Las Vegas-raised Polster – who has been signed to challenge captain James Tavernier for the right-back slot as well as providing competition for a central midfield berth – says his next challenge is to prove to his hero he is worth a place in his team.

He said: "I've always wanted to play in Europe and the fact that Steven knew me made it a little easier to get the contract put together.

"Growing up I only watched games in Europe, mostly the Premier League, so it was a dream of mine to play over here.

"If anybody wants to show what they can do, they have to do it here in Europe.

"You can see a lot of players are now starting to do that now in America. Tyler Adams has just joined RB Leipzig, so guys are trying to prove they can do it on a bigger stage.

"I really looked up to the manager when I was growing up.

"I came over to England as a 14 or 15 year old with my youth club in Las Vegas.

"We visited Anfield and Manchester – but I fell in love with Liverpool. We didn't get to see a match while we were over unfortunately but from there I started watching a lot of their games once I got back home and Steven was the one who caught my eye the most.

"So it's nice to be playing under him now. But I want to play, I don't just want to be training under him. I want to play for him, so the main goal is to get on the pitch."



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