In an image shared by the Rangers Youth Updates Twitter account on Friday afternoon, Dapo Mebude can be spotted heading out to train with the Rangers first team ahead of Sunday’s trip to Hearts.
Dapo Mebude, Nathan Patterson, Kai Kennedy, James Maxwell & Kyle McClelland training with the 1st team pic.twitter.com/mJXp0uasF5
— Rangers Youth Updates (@rfcyouthupdates) January 24, 2020
The Gers are understrength heading into this one, particularly in attacking areas, with Alfredo Morelos still unavailable due to suspension and Greg Stewart ruled out through injury [RangersTV].
Missing those players ensures that in terms of recognised senior attackers, Gerrard only has Jermain Defoe to call upon.
That’s why Mebude may have an outside chance of being involved at Tynecastle.
The manager has shown a willingness to involve young players in these early stages of 2020, with both Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy making their competitive debuts against Stranraer.
Mebude wasn’t involved in that squad, with the 18-year-old unlikely to have been considered for selection, after a throat infection had ruled him out of the mid-season friendly against Lokomotiv Tashkent [Glasgow Times], less than a week earlier.
However, he does have first-team experience, having featured against Kilmarnock in the last game of the 2018/19 season, and he’s been a stand out player at Development level for some time now.
The 18-year-old has had his injury troubles this season, but he’s played a part in the Colts’ impressive run against senior opposition in the Challenge Cup and he netted in the first-round victory over Berwick Rangers.
When you factor in that of all those named on the Gers bench against St Mirren in midweek, only Scott Arfield had found the net since September, there’s certainly a lack of cutting edge to call upon.
Mebude is a little short of game time, but he’s a highly-rated young player who knows where the net is.
Therefore, he may be worth a wildcard squad inclusion this weekend, in the event Rangers need to push for a goal towards the back end of the game.