After spending a season on loan at MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps, Fraser Aird has returned to training at Auchenhowie in the last few weeks as the 21-year-old Canadian international looks to fight for his place in Mark Warburton’s Rangers squad. Aird’s spell with the Whitecaps was, ostensibly, to allow him to play regular games at right back, a position he had very little experience in, although the signing of Lee Hodson this summer has added new competition to unseat James Tavernier at full back.
After an indifferent start to his stint in Cascadia (Aird spent a spell in the mid-season as an unused sub)and some niggly injuries he managed to start in 16 of the Whitecaps’ 33 league games. Karl Robinson’s side struggled for form throughout 2016 as they failed to make any run at Playoff qualification. Towards the end of the MLS regular season, Aird found himself back in the starting XI and showed signs of improvement on his early season form. Aird also appeared in all four of Vancouver’s CONCACAF Champions League group stage games as they qualified for the quarter finals with a 100% record.
Our Whitecap-supporting SBNation brothers at Eighty Six Forever said about him: "(He) started the season slowly, but showed good signs of progression as the year wore on. He battled injury however, and was never able to take a strong hold of the position. If this was his only season in Vancouver, it’s a shame we won’t be able to see if he can take that next step."
Whitecaps’ manager Carl Robinson appears to be a fan of the player and has been quoted as saying he would be interested in taking Aird back should the player see his future away from his Ibrox while Aird himself is aware that should he remain at Ibrox he likely faces a serious fight for regular football saying: "I'll speak to my agent, speak to both managers, and see what their plans are for the future. It's easy talking about week in, week out, but you need to have a plan for the future. I want to play.”
There’s been no indication from Mark Warburton what the future holds for Aird, who still has 18 months remaining on his Ibrox contract, but with the transfer window opening in a few weeks, Aird might not get the chance to add to his 12 goals in 85 Rangers appearances.