Rangers’ calendar year has so far been rather disastrous. Initially in the race for the title, the Gers have now fallen 13 points behind their Old Firm rivals Celtic.
Steven Gerrard has also been questioned about his future.
Though, one man’s future that should be rather up in the air is Glen Kamara. The former Arsenal academy product was linked with a move back to the Emirates this season and has also attracted the interest of Leeds.
With criticism surrounding his performances however, this isn’t the greatest time in Kamara’s career at Ibrox. The fact he was substituted in their defeat to Bayer Leverkusen two weeks ago said a lot too.
Fortunately for the Glasgow-based side, they have his potential successor just sitting in front of him.
The young prodigy in question is Umaro Balde, a teenager who left his family behind in Portugal last summer to move to Scotland.
Balde completed a switch from Sporting Lisbon as he arrived to compete for a spot in the Gers’ U18 side that had won the league a season previous.
A defensive midfielder by trade, he still has a long way in his development to go but there are positive signs for the rarely-seen prospect.
In an interview last year, he revealed he’d been learning from one of the best in the business in his position: “My idol in football is N’Golo Kante and I have watched him for a long time. I look up to him.”
He also disclosed that Kevin Thompson had been detailing what he needed to do in order to become a first-team player at Ibrox. That learning curve and advice should prove invaluable for Balde as he looks to climb the ranks and impress Gerrard.
The 17-year-old added: “At Rangers, I like watching Aribo and Kamara. I watch the first team games all the time and I like them.”
The fact he’s already studying what players in his position are doing in the current senior side is encouraging, especially if he’s to usurp the latter who may well leave in the not too distant future.
Balde’s attitude is exemplary, explaining in late 2019 that he feels he’s ready to play for the first-team already. Continuing to watch the senior professionals and understand the way they play will be incredibly significant.
It’s natural to suggest he could be next in line to make a breakthrough in Rangers’ midfield and with uncertainty growing over the Light Blues, an opportunity might not be too far away.