Balogun Anticipates Tough Fixtures Without Injured Rangers Captain, Tavernier

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Balogun Anticipates Tough Fixtures Without Injured Rangers Captain, Tavernier
Nwolu Obiajulu

Nigerian international, Leon Balogun expects a hard time standing in for injured team skipper, James Tavernier at right-back position despite having featured in the role against Bayern Munich.

Balogun was moved to the right-back position when Rangers skipper limped off in the first half of Thursday’s EUROPA League victory against Antwerp.

The defender might face a run at full-back depending on the extent of injury to the skipper’s knee.

Reacting to the prospect of featuring more prominently in the position, Balogun who had played for Brighton as well as Bundesliga sides Werder Bremen and Mains said, “I was back to an old role and I was happy I can still play it.

“I think the last time I started at right-back was against Sheffield Wednesday with Brighton. But in terms of high-profile games, it was probably against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

“I can’t replace Tavernier. He’s a beast. We’re different types of players and I’m a centre half. I’ll try to match as best as possible and put my style into it. It wasn’t easy but I don’t want to sell the side short when it comes to attacking.

“I try to fill in the best I can but you can’t replace an attacking full-back like Tav. His high-intensity running is something I’m not used to – maybe at one point I was.

“I might need to get used to it as well but Tav would run up and down that line for 180 minutes if needed.”

The Super Eagles defender is optimistic he can do a job after a pep talk from boss Steven Gerrard.

He said: “The manager just said, ‘I know you can play, you have all the abilities you need, technically and physically, to go and play it’.

“It gave me that extra boost to back myself. I came in during a shaky period so that helped.

“There was a shift in the second half. It wasn’t perfect but we got confidence and I got on the ball and was able to play that Tavernier role.”

This post was written by Nwolu Obiajulu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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