This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
Dapo Mebude made his Rangers debut on the last day of the season against Kilmarnock in the 2-1 defeat, coming on for Daniel Candeais.
Now that the 18-year-old has tasted first-team football, what can fans expect in the future?
Well, if manager Steven Gerrard turns out to be right, supporters could be in for a treat.
Per Rangers TV via insidefutbol, he said: “I think he deserves that with his play for the 18s, the 19s, the reserves and what he’s shown in first-team training.
“Dapo’s got a bright future. He needs to keep working hard now and pushing and hopefully, that can be the first of many.”
Fellow academy graduate Ross McCrorie also believes that Mebude is the “one to watch” when asked by The Daily Record who he thinks will be next to make the step up.
He said: “Dapo Mebude is one to watch. He’s done well for the Scotland Under-17s, is very quick and has a few tricks. Dapo has a real chance if he keeps working hard.”
Mebude signed a new contract with the Ibrox club in December of 2018, committing his future to the club until 2021.
Their Head of Academy, Craig Mulholland, announced via the official Rangers website: “We are delighted to extend Dapo’s contract. He has made great progress in the last few years having been named in a first-team squad and playing up a year at international level”.
Mebude is a regular in the Scotland U19s with three goals in eight games and will be looking to make the step up over the next couple of seasons.
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As Mebude himself said in a recent interview with The Evening Times, he is well aware of the quality of the players in front of him. Indeed, Jermain Defoe and Alfredo Morelos are both ahead of him in Gerrard’s pecking order.
He said: “They are two top-class strikers and Jermain has done everything I would want to do.
“He has scored goals and played in the Premier League and done it all. Alfredo is showing what he can do and they are both class strikers that I can learn from.”
A loan move in January could be the best option in the immediate future to see how he copes with the physicality of senior football on a regular basis.
He has already played in the Challenge Cup, scoring in a 2-1 win over Berwick Rangers, but it remains to be seen if he can hit the back of the net on a consistent basis for the first-team.