Leon Balogun believes the Glasgow Rangers defence is the best he has ever played with during his career after Steven Gerrard’s side kept another clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Lech Poznan in the Europa League.
Rangers extended their remarkable shutout record to five games in a row so far, as Alfredo Morelos scored the only goal of the game against Lech Poznan, having conceded just four times from 17 matches this term, via Transfermarkt. And the former Brighton defender is delighted with his team’s performances in recent weeks.
Speaking after the game, as quoted by The Glasgow Times, he said: “This is probably the best defensive unit I’ve been a part of in my career.
“I’m new to the squad but the competition we have is something that should improve a team.
“We have great depth to the squad – there’s no loss of quality no matter who comes in and plays, and that’s something we can pride ourselves on.”
It’s worth remembering that Balogun joined the Gers as a free agent following his departure from Wigan Athletic in the summer as Gerrard needed someone to provide injury cover for Nikola Katic. The 32-year-old made an impressive start to the season during his first-team debut, with Gerrard hailing him as a “warrior” for his defensive shifts.
He marked his return to the starting line-up with a confident performance against Lech Poznan to help Rangers record a second straight victory in Group D. Speaking to The Herald after the final whistle, Gerrard was effusive in his praise for the “fantastic” summer signing, as he admitted he had no doubt that the Nigeria international would make an immediate impact at Ibrox.
The Rangers boss said: “He is an international player, he is very quick, he has got a fantastic profile, a profile that we like in that area, and he has come in and settled in really quickly and put in some real consistent performances.”
Per SofaScore, Balogun received a high rating of 7.3 for his efforts – he made one tackle, one interception, six clearances and blocked one shot, whilst he won four out of six duels overall, completed 43 out of 46 passes at a pass accuracy rating of 93% and wasn’t dribbled past at all, which just goes to show how much the centre-back contributed at the back.
In fact, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the colossus made eleven appearances in the Championship for the Latics last term, whilst he averaged 1.3 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and a staggering 3.9 clearances per game, via SofaScore.
Competition for places is so, so important, especially when you consider the fact that Gerrard has to juggle both domestic and European competitions this season. It’s safe to say that he is pretty spoilt for choice, as he can choose between either Balogun or Filip Helander at the back. If this commanding performance is anything to go by, fans can expect to see the Nigerian starting more often, that’s for sure.