Arthur Numan makes Champions League call and picks out key PSV stars

·3-min read
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst

ARTHUR NUMAN has identified former Rangers target Joey Veerman as the main danger to their Champions League dreams this term.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side will face the Eredivisie giants in the play-off round after their stunning 3-0 victory against Union Saint-Gilloise on Tuesday.

PSV were extra-time winners over Monaco and now stand between Rangers and a long-awaited return to the top table of the European game.

Boss Ruud van Nistelrooy has assembled a quality squad this season and playmaker Veerman - who was eyed for an Ibrox switch before moving to Eindhoven - has been picked out as the man to watch over the two legs.

"From a Rangers point of view, I would have preferred if the first leg was in Holland," Numan told 5Stars. "I always liked it better when we had the return leg at home.

"But Giovanni will look to take any sort of lead to Eindhoven the following week. Any victory on Tuesday should be regarded as a positive step.

"I rate the tie as being 50-50 right now. Make no mistake, PSV have talented footballers and they are very strong and robust at the back. They are building a team to win the league title.

"In midfield they have Joey Veerman. Rangers were linked with him this time last year and I think he is a very capable performer.

"He scored the opening goal for PSV on Tuesday night and he likes to attack from the central area.

"They also have Luuk de Jong. Luuk is a very powerful striker and strong in the air. He feeds off crosses from wide areas. Rangers must be aware of him.

"He has played for Barcelona and Newcastle, so that shows the pedigree he has. But Rangers also have some very good players and they are clearly getting better and better together the more games they play.

"As has been the case for a long period, Rangers will take a bit of stopping and PSV know this."

Goals from James Tavernier, Antonio Colak and Malik Tillman clinched a deserved win for Rangers as they overturned the 2-0 defeat in Leuven to progress to the play-off round.

The Light Blues will need to significantly raise their game to see off PSV, though, as they prepare to welcome the Dutch outfit to Ibrox next week.

Numan has kept a close eye on the fortunes of former team-mate Van Nistelrooy and reckons it will be an intriguing dugout battle between the Oranje heroes.

Numan said: "Two things always kept my confidence high that Rangers would defeat Union SG - Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the Ibrox crowd. Thankfully, my belief wasn't misplaced.

"The effort to overturn the two goal deficit from the first leg was outstanding. Despite some of the ridiculous criticism aimed at Gio and a few of the players after the first leg, I said on this page that I had high hopes for Antonio Colak and Malik Tillman.

"Both scored to put the tie beyond doubt. That was after James Tavernier gave us a crucial half-time lead from the penalty spot.

"The 50,000 home crowd clearly rattled the Belgians and they struggled to cope. Giovanni also picked the perfect line-up and may have surprised one or two people with his selection.

"But he does what he thinks is right. That's why he will continue to be successful.

"It has set up a mouthwatering tie between Rangers and another of my former clubs, PSV Eindhoven.

"PSV is coached by former Manchester United and Holland striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy. He joined PSV as a player in 1998, the summer I left for Ibrox.

"We were international team-mates for the Netherlands and I have followed his career. He is now an established coach after serving his apprenticeship as youth team boss at PSV.

"There are similarities to Giovanni as both are very tactically astute and they are also not afraid to make unpopular decisions."