17-year-old Leon King is likely to provide the main centre-back cover for Rangers against Lyon in the Europa League after it was confirmed that Leon Balogun was unable to travel due to injury.

King is a very highly-rated and reportedly in-demand talent who made his League Cup and Premiership debuts under Steven Gerrard last season.

Falkirk v Rangers - Betfred Cup

Leon King is embraced by Steven Gerrard after making his senior Rangers debut against Falkirk. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

He’s been starring at B team level in recent weeks following an injury layoff and featured in the UEFA Youth League win over Septemvri Sofia on Tuesday night at Dumbarton.

The teenage centre-back was taken off at half-time in that game and while it’s possible that he had picked up a knock, it’s likely that his workload was being managed ahead of the trip to France.


That’s because Gio van Bronckhorst has very few options in the middle of defence.

Filip Helander and Balogun are both unavailable due to injury and Jack Simpson is ineligible due to being left out of the squad for the group stages by the previous regime.

St. Mirren FC v Rangers FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership

With Leon Balogun (pictured) unavailable, 17-year-old King could be the main defensive cover on the bench for Rangers in Lyon after also making the squad for GvB’s first match in charge against Sparta Prague. (Photo by Jshpix/MB Media/Getty Images)

That leaves Connor Goldson and Calvin Bassey as the only two senior centre-back options for the match, so if King was on the flight to Lyon yesterday, he wasn’t simply making up the numbers.

If either Goldson or Bassey were to pick up an injury, it would likely be to him that GvB would turn.

Fellow B team regular Kyle McClelland could also have travelled having made the bench for multiple previous Europa League matches this season, but he played the full 90 minutes in the UYL on Tuesday.

Ahead of the game, check out our Predicted XI, HERE.

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