When we consider Young Player of the Year awards, often Rangers fans and others may forget that the age range stretches all the way up to U23.
So you’ll forgive some for feeling Ianis Hagi has a seniority which may not have befitted his Rangers Young Player of the Year Award at the club’s official 2021 club awards.
But with the attacking midfielder’s age of 23 in mind, it’s hard for even us to deny the Romanian the honour of being the club’s Young Player of the Year last season and heading into this.
The temptation is clearly to lunge for breakthrough talent Nathan Patterson, the 20-year-old Scotland international enjoying a quite simply massive 2021.
In this year Nathan has emerged as a Scotland number one, competed at European level for Rangers and contributed to that legendary league title.
Some may also be tempted to put their money on Calvin Bassey, the ex-Leicester City kid breaking through at Rangers last season and emerging as a defensive force in the side.
Not only this, but Calvin’s development has been clear and given his young age of 21, there’s little doubt he’d make it into a selection of nominees.
Young Player of the Year Ianis Hagi makes big impact on Rangers
However, if we’re talking about raw impact on the squad then there is no-one under the age of 23 who has had more an impact at Rangers than Ianis Hagi.
Given the attacking midfielder has been playing since he was in his mid-teens, there’s a maturity to both his game and attitude which is befitting someone years his senior.
But life in the limelight alongside legendary father Gheorghe has clearly done Ianis well and this season we’ve seen glimpses of the talent Hagi Jnr holds.
Finishing last season as the top assister in the Scottish Premiership, amid injuries and other challenges, there’s an argument that Ianis was our best performer in the early campaign this time around.
Getting our season under way against Livingston in a 3-0 win, Ianis Hagi continues to come up big for the club in match-defining moments. The midfielder’s goal v Brondby in Denmark was priceless.
After the change of management Ianis has stuttered a little and Hagi is clearly frustrated to see himself forced out wide more often than not.
But there will be chances for this talented midfielder in the weeks and months to come and it would be unfair not to recognise the very senior contribution of this deceptively junior member of the team.
Perhaps in his lack of consistency and at times wayward performances his age becomes clearer but if the success of his early Rangers career tells us anything, it’s that there’s potential for a matchwinning footballer in there somewhere.