Rangers centre-back Leon Balogun sent a strong message to sporting director Ross Wilson on Sunday as he put in a sublime performance against St Mirren.
Steven Gerrard admitted that the centre-back was a doubt heading into the game after he suffered an injury against Brondby last Thursday.
He told The Herald: “We are hoping we have got to it before there is a tweak or any muscle damage.
“We are hoping it is a little bit of tightness and we will know in the next 24 hours. I will certainly be praying tonight. He felt something in his hamstring. That’s what he came off with, but he wasn’t sure if he felt something or whether it was a bit of tightness.
“We will work that out in the next 24 hours and hopefully he will pull through because he is important for us. I thought his performance was top tonight as well.”
The Nigeria international was able to pull through and produce an excellent display at the back alongside Connor Goldson to ensure the Gers won 2-1 and it should serve as a reminder to Wilson that he has a big decision to make.
Balogun is out of contract at the end of the season and the club hold an option to extend it by one year. Firstly, Wilson must trigger this extension and ensure that he stays for another season at least. Secondly, the Gers chief must negotiate a longer-term deal and keep him at Ibrox in the long-run.
At the age of 33, he is still going strong and producing consistently impressive performances in the Scottish Premiership. This suggests that he is not slowing down, despite his age, and could have more than one year left in the tank.
The defender recorded a SofaScore rating of 7.0 against St Mirren and was a rock at the back in front of Jon McLaughlin. Per SofaScore, he won nine of his 14 duels, whilst making two tackles and four clearances throughout the game as no opposition player managed to dribble past him. He also completed 89% of his passes, highlighting the quality he provides in possession as well as out of it.
This was not a one-off performance from the experienced battler. He has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.10 in the Premiership this term, winning 62% of his duels and completing 86% of his passes over the course of the campaign so far.
He is proving that age is merely a number and Wilson must act now to ensure that he does not end up leaving Rangers and weakening Gerrard’s squad. His departure would be a huge blow for the club, given the nature of his performances on the pitch, and that is why they must act now to secure his future in Glasgow.