As Rangers disgracefully tumbled out of the Champions League, spare a thought for Man United-linked teenage centre-back Leon King.

Suddenly cast into the limelight at Ibrox – despite only being 18 – the club were forced to call on Leon, who played a part in all six Champions League group stage matches. He started three of them.

Rangers FC v AFC Ajax: Group A - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Richard Callis/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

This comes after an injury crisis at Ibrox has continued to deepen over the last few months, with Rangers missing Connor Goldson, Filip Helander, John Souttar and Ben Davies for the 3-1 defeat to Ajax.

All four are in front of Leon King in the squad and it is quite remarkable that the centre-back has had to play such a large role in what has proven a difficult Champions League campaign.

But the youngster’s inexperience at this level was evident as Leon King played a central role in what eventually proved to be the worst Champions League campaign on record.

Leon King suffers tough Champions League bow with Rangers

Despite this, there is a feeling that far from dispel what is a hugely talented young player the Champions League experience will help Leon King grow.

How the youngster reacts will be telling and as character building as this experience has been it is also invaluable to the youngster’s development.

For all intents and purposes, the Rangers teenager appears to one of the most highly-sought after young defenders in the UK with several Premier League clubs linked to the kid.

Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Man United, Newcastle United and Leeds United are all tailing the player, so there appears to be plenty of eyes on him.

But transfer links away from Rangers are nothing new to King who was promised a pathway into the first-team at Ibrox, even if no-one could’ve foreseen the circumstances.

As Leon King grows and evolves as a defender, we’ve no doubts this disappointing experience with Rangers in the Champions League can aid him in ways that are just not possible at the domestic level.

Perhaps that might mean the club can command a higher fee when the centre-back does move on from Ibrox.

Meanwhile, here’s a clip of ex-Rangers defender Calvin Bassey being serenaded by the fans.

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