Rangers are facing a centre-back injury crisis in the coming weeks – but could Ibrox youngster Leon King follow in a former Liverpool star’s footsteps and plug the gap?
The Gers are already without influential Swedish international defender Filip Helander who will be out until at least December.
That was before Nigerian international centre-back Leon Balogun was substituted off the pitch in the Super Eagles’ 2-0 win over the Central African Republic.
Whilst it remains unclear the extent of any potential injury, it leaves the Gers with Connor Goldson and Jack Simpson as the club’s only first-team centre-halves.
Goldson remains an Ibrox stalwart but there are doubts over Simpson, with the defender even left out of the Ibrox side’s Europa League squad for this season.
Should Balogun’s injury be extensive Rangers will need cover and many of the club’s fans will point to the youth set up.
Leon King the stand-out choice to step up from Rangers youth sides
Leon King remains one of the Gers’ most highly-rated young talents whilst Northern Irish youth international Kyle McLelland is currently the B Team captain.
King, 17, appears the most obvious choice to come up from the youth ranks but given his age many may have doubts about the player’s ability to make the step up.
Leon signed a two-year deal at Ibrox last season and this is a chance to show that “pathway” which convinced King to sign on at Rangers over the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea.
But should Leon be called upon in the coming weeks the defender can look to the early Ibrox success of former Gers defender Danny Wilson.
Centre-back Wilson broke through into the Rangers first-team as a 17-year-old and remains the youngest player to ever play for the Gers in the Champions League.
Walter Smith didn’t think twice about throwing Wilson into the team and the defender made 24 appearances in a breakthrough season, earning a £2m switch to Premier League giants Liverpool as a result.
Things might not have worked out down south for Wilson – with the defender even returning to Ibrox for three seasons between 2015 and 2018 – but his success stands as evidence that a young player can come through and make a proper impact.
Where is Danny Wilson now?
Whilst the focus for Rangers fans will be on what happens at Ibrox, coincidentally Wilson was in the news this week after a sending off for Colorado Rapids in the MLS.
Now 29, Wilson has been with the Rapids ever since leaving Ibrox in January 2018 and has gone on to carve out a successful career stateside.
However, whilst Wilson saw red in a recent clash with Minnesota United, his side managed a late rally to come back from 1-0 down to win the clash 3-1.
Speaking of Rangers’ issues at centre-back, read more about the Steven Gerrard transfer curse following the Gers’ latest injury blow.