After securing their place in the Europa League round of 16 stage in midweek against Borussia Dortmund, Rangers are back in SPFL action today with a home clash against Motherwell.
In terms of which players Giovanni van Bronckhorst could pick to be in his starting XI this afternoon, one figure that didn’t start in midweek that we feel should be in from the beginning on this occasion is Leon Balogun.
Having replaced Borna Barisic at halftime in their midweek 2-2 draw against Dortmund, the 33-year-old managed to win two tackles, make two clearances and one interception as well as win two duels, showing that he did his bit to help the team progress through to the next round.
As well as this, the defender has also shown in the league just how much of a capable defender he is by racking up 25 tackles, 21 interceptions and 42 clearances across the 14 league appearances he’s made so far this season.
This shows just how much he could dominate Motherwell’s attacking players and give them a really tough time if he does get to start.
Praised for his “outstanding” performances in the past by former Gers boss Steven Gerrard, Balogun has the chance today to really get back into rhythm after missing the club’s previous league game against Dundee United.
Also, with the Dutchman describing their midweek draw against the Bundesliga side as a “demanding game” for his players in his latest press conference, this could also work in the Nigerian’s favour if Van Bronckhorst feels the need to give the likes of Calvin Bassey or Connor Goldson a rest after they both played through the entire 90 minutes against Dortmund.
Moving forward, now that they have secured their place in the Europa League last 16, Rangers must now focus on picking up all three points in today’s match so they don’t potentially fall further behind current league leaders Celtic and make it harder for themselves to regain the title.
If that means giving Balogun a place in the starting XI this afternoon based on his defensive capabilities, Van Bronckhorst must consider it.