Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr has backed Rangers defender Leon Balogun to thrive as a right-back if called upon again by Steven Gerrard.
With James Tavernier injured and Nathan Patterson isolating, Balogun had to fill in for the Gers captain at right-back in recent games.
Patterson returned in the second leg against Royal Antwerp but with the youngster almost certainly set to receive a lengthy SFA ban, Balogun may have to step up again.
Rohr is quoted by Daily Record as saying, “He [Balogun] has a German mentality and has good speed which is very important for a central defender or full-back as he can play both positions.
“There is no difference for Leon Balogun playing at right-back for Rangers just now because he’s played there before, for Nigeria and in Germany sometimes.
“He’s quick and intelligent and can change his position very quickly. For me, he’s strong enough to play either position.
“In the 2018 World Cup he played at the right of a three-man central defence so not quite a right back.”
Patterson impressed against Antwerp as he scored less than 20 seconds after coming on at half time and he was only brought on because of how poor Balogun was.
We can’t hammer him too much as he is natural centre half but against the Antwerp wingers Balogun looked like a deer in the headlights and it was not a shock to see him come off at half time.
Patterson will almost certainly pick up a significant ban after his role in the ‘Party 5’ scandal which means Balogun will return to full-back in Tavernier’s stead.
Rohr’s words do give us reasons to be optimistic but there is more than a whiff of this just being an international manager talking up one of their players.
Balogun is much better at centre back and we really hope Tavernier can return to full back before Balogun is forced to play there again.
In other Rangers news, a former manager of one Gers ace has compared his ex-player to Harry Kane.