Leon King is ending the season the way that he started it, getting minutes for Rangers due to injuries to senior colleagues.

The teenage defender has had a season that he will never forget and difficult experiences in the Champions League should be used as a learning experience.

Any young player starting for the Light Blues will have a tough time, however, Leon King didn’t even have an experienced regular to guide him through games for Rangers.

Liverpool FC v Rangers FC: Group A - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Back in the starting XI against Hibs alongside John Souttar, Leon King was playing with his fourth partner of the season which tells you everything you need to know about Rangers luck with injuries.

With his Scotland international teammate excelling once again, Michael Beale was quick to point out post-match that the younger of his two central defenders also deserved praise:

“A mention for Leon who had a huge experience in the first half of the season. Football was a little bit harsh even if he was living his dream.

“Today to come in for his first start in months, I thought he did really well. He’s starting to show nice aggression to his game, not only being a nice technical centre-half.”

King, who was watched by clubs like Man Utd before committing to Rangers, has shown, when playing next to a wiser and more experienced head, that he has a really bright future ahead of himself.

This hasn’t stopped Rangers from being linked with other players for his position though.

Filip Helander, who signed for a reported £3.5m, needs to be replaced, primarily due to Souttar’s own injury record, however, if Ben Davies is sold, as has been rumoured, the Gers gaffer should keep his cheque book in his pocket.

Between Connor Goldson, Souttar, Leon King and another – more robust – centre-half, Rangers have a well-balanced quartet.

Bringing in another specialist would only block King’s chance of getting minutes and developing in the right place.

Going out on loan to the lower leagues in the SPFL would achieve nothing, where else, other than Celtic do the central defenders have to defend 1v1 for much of the game with a whole half to cover?

There isn’t anywhere else where he would get anywhere near the same sort of exposure.

Leon King might have been thrown in at the deepend and had his development accelerated but, as he has shown this season for Rangers and against Hibs at the weekend, he isn’t an academy player anymore and should be treated accordingly.

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