RYAN JACK firmly believes he has become a better player in the last 18 months having today committed himself to Rangers until 2023.
Jack, who has become a firm fans’ favourite in his time at Ibrox, has been outstanding this season, playing 16 times and netting once, with that goal being the club’s first of the season against St Joseph’s of Gibraltar in July.
After initially signing for Gers in summer 2017, his first season was wrecked at the midway point by a serious knee injury which kept him side-lined until the summer.
He hasn’t looked back since recovering from that, though, becoming a key lieutenant in the middle of the park for Steven Gerrard’s exciting outfit as they have continued to grow as a team.
“There is no doubt I have improved,” Jack explained. “I had a bad knee injury which was tough, and you need to show a different side of you to come back from that.
“The gaffer came in and showed great belief in me and said to get my head down and work hard. That’s what I did and he has shown great faith in me and I hope to repay that in the next few years.
“I’m delighted to commit my future and the club have shown great ambition to get me re-signed on a new deal.
“The gaffer had said he wanted things done, and I am delighted to stay. I am over the moon and I am looking forward to the future now.
“In football, you never know what is around the corner, but for me, I just wanted to get my head down and work hard while not really overthinking what is in the future or what is to come.
“I just deal with what is happening now, and I have always been that way. That thought process has done me well to now, so I won’t really change that.
“But look, the club have shown great ambition with the length of contract they have given me, so I am looking to try and repay that in the next three-and-a-half years.
“It is a very exciting time as I think we have a very good squad and a lot of competition for places. There is a lot going well at the minute – we are in a tough Europa League group but it is one we are ambitious to do well in.
“There is a lot going for the club at the moment and there is a lot of positivity. We just want to keep that doing, and from now to the January break, keep winning games and see where that takes us.”
That initial spell at Ibrox for Jack in the latter part of 2017 saw him red-carded four times in 22 appearances, albeit one was later rescinded.
Since then, he’s not seen red in any of his 53 appearances and has been booked on just seven occasions.
“I had to look back at that,” he candidly admitted. “In the time I was out injured, I reflected on it and realised if I was going to be a part of this club, and hopefully be a success at this club, that side of things needed to change.
“Thankfully I have done that, and everything has been fine since. As I say, I am just looking to the future now and hopefully I can kick-on to try and do well at Rangers.”
Jack’s next target having become a full and integral member of the squad at Rangers is to establish himself in the Scotland national team, with manager Steve Clarke having included him in a number of recent squads.
With Clarke looking to build a team ahead of the Euro 2020 Nations League play-offs in March, this could be the perfect opportunity for Jack to stake a claim for a starting berth.
“I have always said,” Jack added, “first and foremost, I want to establish myself here and make sure I am playing well for Rangers week-in and week-out.
“If I am doing that and the calls come, then I am happy. I want to play for my country and I want to get caps for Scotland.
“The last couple of trips have been unfortunate through injury and not making it, but I am fighting fit now and hopefully going forward, I can play a part for Scotland.
“In the trips I have been on under the Scotland manager, the ambition is that we want to qualify and we want to get to a major tournament.
“If I can stay fit, play for Rangers and hopefully be a part of that, then it would be a great experience for myself and all the boys in the Scotland squad to be part of a major tournRyan Jackament.
“There is a long way to go to get to that, and I am sure over the next few months, we will be working hard and working towards that.”