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Alfredo Morelos: Rangers striker dropped by Giovanni van Bronckhorst over fitness and attitude concerns

Giovanni van Bronckhorst drops Alfredo Morelos from Rangers' squad to face PSV in Champions League play-off; decision made due to various concerns over fitness levels and attitude; Colombian still has a future at Ibrox if he can prove his commitment but talks over a new deal put on hold

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Sky Sports News reporter Gordon Duncan with the latest from the Rangers training centre as Alfredo Morelos is dropped by Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Alfredo Morelos has been left out of the Rangers squad for Wednesday's Champions League play-off second-leg against PSV Eindhoven.

Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst made the decision following various concerns including the striker's fitness levels and attitude over the early stages of this season.

Sky Sports News understands Van Bronckhorst consulted various senior players within the squad, who all unanimously backed the decision.

Morelos was sent off 13 minutes after coming on as a substitute at Easter Road on Saturday, however, that incident is not the sole reason behind this move.

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Alfredo Morelos was shown a straight red at Hibs just 13 minutes after coming on at Easter Road

It is understood the 26-year-old does still have a future at Ibrox - if he can prove his commitment to the club - with talks over a new deal currently on hold.

Following Morelos' lengthy spell on the sidelines, Rangers have strengthened in the forward areas with Tom Lawrence, Malik Tillman, Rabbi Matondo and Antonio Colak joining this summer.

Colak has started all seven matches this season across competitions and has scored four goals in his last five matches.

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The Colombia striker took to Instagram following the news and posted an image which translates to: "The best warrior is not the one who always triumphs but the one who returns fearlessly to battle".

Rangers drew the first leg at Ibrox 2-2 against the Eredivisie side.

Gio: Time will tell over Morelos future

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Giovanni van Bronckhorst explains the decision to drop Alfredo Morelos from Rangers' squad to face PSV following fitness & attitude concerns 

When asked if Morelos could return to the squad for future games, Van Bronckhorst said: "I think we wait and see what happens.

"The biggest factor in that is Alfredo himself so we have to see how the coming days and weeks go.

"The process was that we are playing a lot of important games at the moment.

"I think it is for me always the case to bring the players with me which I think are ready to play. For me that was the moment I didn't include (Alfredo) Morelos.

"As a person it was a hard decision but as a manager it was an easy one because we are here to represent our club and to get into the Champions League [Wednesday] evening.

"I think he has to show me he wants to play for Rangers. I know he wants to play, but to play for Rangers you need to have a certain level mentally and physically and at the moment I think he is not ready to play.

"As I said before, we will deal with this internally and speak with Morelos and see what happens in the coming weeks.

"But of course, it's a signal that he's not here. And a signal I had to make to Morelos, but also to my team."

Boyd: No player is bigger than the club

Speaking on Sky Sports News, former Rangers striker and Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd said:

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Kris Boyd analyses Rangers' decision to drop Alfredo Morelos due to concerns over his fitness and attitude.

"Rangers have decided to act and I think it shows leadership from Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

"No one is bigger than Rangers Football Club and Giovanni has acted because Alfredo has been nowhere near the level of fitness he was when he first took charge.

"If I was a player and I was being outed in the dressing room as a bad player that would really hurt me.

"He's had a long injury, but he's been back for a while and there's no reason for him to be in the condition he's in.

Image: Morelos has scored over 100 goals for Rangers since joining in 2017

"He needs to knuckle down, get himself fit and l'm sure he could maybe force his way back into Giovanni's thinking.

"It shouldn't come to something like this for you to kick start your career again. It's becoming a problem and I think Rangers deserve a lot of credit for dealing with it.

"Waiting to get games to get fit is a thing of the past. Antonio Colak has come in and shown he is Rangers' main man at this moment in time. Has Alfredo Morelos downed tools and isn't up for the fight? That's what it seems to be.

"You always want a good dressing room and if there's a player who is being a hindrance then you don't want him in it. The players have spoken, they've decided enough is enough and the manager has had his say."

Van Nistelrooy: Giovanni doing what is best for Rangers

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Ruud van Nistelrooy believes former Netherlands team-mate Giovanni van Bronckhorst dropped Alfredo Morelos because he thinks it was the right thing to do for Rangers

Speaking ahead of the Champions League play-off second-leg, PSV Eindhoven boss Ruud van Nistelrooy said:

"We know what a player Alfredo can be and what he has done for Rangers.

"He is a very good striker so in that sense we obviously focus on ourselves but I rate him a lot as a player, that's obvious.

"I don't know about why and how things went of course but I know Gio. I know he wants to get somewhere with the team and club he works for and will make his decisions in the best interests of the club.

"Morelos didn't start [last week]. Also in the games before our game we saw Morelos coming on and not starting. In that sense, we don't think it has the biggest influence.

"The number one striker is (Antonio) Colak and we expect him for tomorrow night's game.

"I don't know the decision-making around the Morelos case but I know that Giovanni is making decisions for the best interest of the club and the team. That's the way I know him as a professional and professional."

Dropping Morelos shows real leadership

Rangers' title challenge begins away at Livingston
Image: Giovanni van Bronkchorst was backed by senior players at Rangers over the call to drop Morelos

Sky Sports' Sahil Jaidka:

There's no doubt Giovanni van Bronckhorst would rather avoid being in this position on the eve of a huge match for Rangers.

However, to drop a player that has scored 114 goals and contributed 51 assists during his time at the club shows real leadership.

Concerns were raised by Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd over the Colombian's attitude and fitness levels before the draw at Hibernian and it's clear those problems have cost Morelos his place in the squad.

Alfredo Morelos
Image: Alfredo Morelos' current Rangers deal ends in the summer

The red card at Easter Road was branded as "stupid" by James Tavernier and with the captain, alongside other senior players, backing Van Bronckhorst's call - it's clear there is unity over the standard needed within the dressing room.

Speculation always follows Morelos during the transfer window but it is clear he still has a future at Ibrox, if he can prove he is willing to put the team first.

Antonio Colak has shown he knows his way to goal, as do summer arrivals Tom Lawrence and Malik Tillman. While there is depth at Rangers, make no doubt about it, Morelos could have a key part to play.

For now, the manager has placed the ball firmly in Morelos' court and the message is clear - only time will tell if those issues around fitness and attitude are dealt with by the player.

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