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Clement Rangers fitness demands ‘not a punishment’ as squad reaction detailed



Jack Butland has stressed Philippe Clement’s new Rangers fitness regime isn’t a punishment for past shortcomings.

And the stopper has also provided an insight into how the squad reacted to the higher standards now being driven at the club in a post-Michael Beale era. Clement described the fitness and injury issues he inherited upon becoming Ibrox boss as the ‘biggest puzzle’ in his career to date. He’s had to deal with a raft of key players sitting on the sidelines at different times so far but the Belgian has already stressed that he knows why things were the way they were in regards to player fitness before he was hired in Govan.

The squad are now at the mercy of Clement’s stringent fitness standards but Butland insists no player is being punished – it is merely just to get everyone, first-team player or fringe star, up to the standards needed to represent a club like Rangers.

Butland said at his press conference on Wednesday: “He’s (Clement) bringing everybody in. I think sometimes the old ideas of running stupid distances can often be a bit of a punishment to people or can feel that way. He’s made it clear that if people are doing extra running then it is not as a punishment – it’s to get you up to the standards or up to where the lads who are getting those numbers week in week out, so that when the opportunity comes to call on these people – and he will do – are not a yard off and are up to the standards.

“I think when he articulated it in that way, it’s not ‘you’re running because you’re not playing’ or ‘you’re running because you’re not fit enough’ – it’s ‘no, you’re running to get up to the actual level we need you to play for this club’. And the lads are on board with that because ultimately it works in everybody’s favour.

“For those guys, it means they are ready. And for the rest of the team and club, all 25 players are ready to go when called upon so I think that’s where it is at.”

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