MARK ALLEN, the Rangers Director of Football, has called for Ibrox striker Alfredo Morelos to be given more ‘protection’ in the Scottish game.
Morelos has enjoyed a superb first half of the campaign for Steven Gerrard’s side and has hit 20 goals already this term to help the Light Blues reach the group stages of the Europa League and move level on points with Old Firm rivals Celtic in the Premiership.
But the Colombian has once again made headlines for all the wrong reasons at times this season as his disciplinary record has been repeatedly questioned in some quarters.
Boss Steven Gerrard has defended his star striker on several occasions in recent months as Morelos has become a firm favourite of the Ibrox crowd.
And Light Blues chief Allen believes some of the attention he receives is over the top as he called for Morelos to be viewed more fairly across the board.
Allen said: “The one thing I would say about Morelos is that we need to look after him a bit better. He is a very talented young man, he is living thousands of miles away from home and is still only 20-odd.
“People are very quick to jump on the back of Morelos did this or Morelos did that. I watch every game and sometimes he just needs a little bit more protection because people tend to see the things they want to see in terms of this is what Morelos has supposedly done.
“They done actually see what has been done to Morelos and I think we have to be very mindful of that with Alfredo moving before because he is a talented boy.
“For the record, I am not referring to the Old Firm game. What I am saying is that throughout the course of this season, and what I saw of last season, everyone is quick to jump on the bandwagon.
“But they don’t look at what happens to Alfredo on the pitch and if he is getting protected, is he getting the right protection in every game?
“That is the point I am making and we need to be mindful of that. He is a very talented young man, but he is a young man. We rate him very highly but sometimes he gets back publicity through no fault of his own and people jump on that bandwagon.”
The form that Morelos has shown in the opening months of the season could attract suitors before the end of the transfer window but Rangers have no intention of selling their top scorer.
Allen confirmed he hadn’t received any offers so far this month for the 22-year-old as he spoke at the Light Blues’ warm weather training camp in Tenerife.
And he reckons more should be made about Morelos’ rise from a difficult upbringing in Cerete as he has risen through the ranks in Finland and Scotland and made his name in the European game.
Allen said: “I certainly don’t detect that [the criticism could get to him].
“He is very resolute. You have seen him, he goes down and gets back up again.
“The point I am trying to make is do you think we need to give him a bit of a fairer ride in terms of actually looking at some of the other stuff around that and not just what Morelos has allegedly done.
“That (his story) tells you the type of person that he is. He is robust, he is resolute and relentless in terms of his pursuit to try and play football at the highest level.
“We have no issue with Alfredo Morelos. He trains well, he is popular with his team mates, popular with everyone within the football club and sometimes I think he gets a bit of a rough ride.”