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Sports News of Saturday, 20 February 2021

Source: Today NG

It will be tough to replace injured Rangers skipper - Super Eagles star

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun held his own as a right-back against Bayern Munich but he still reckons it will be tough to stand in for James Tavernier.

The defender slotted in for the Rangers skipper when he limped off in the first half of Thursday’s victory over Antwerp.

Balogun could be set for a run at full-back depending on the damage to the captain’s knee.

And the former Brighton man – who played in Germany for Werder Bremen and Mainz – said: “I was back to an old role and I was happy I can still play it.

“I think the last time I started at right-back was against Sheffield Wednesday with Brighton. But in terms of high-profile games, it was probably against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

“I can’t replace Tavernier. He’s a beast. We’re different types of players and I’m a centre half. I’ll try to match as best as possible and put my style into it. It wasn’t easy but I don’t want to sell the side short when it comes to attacking.

“I try to fill in the best I can but you can’t replace an attacking full-back like Tav. His high-intensity running is something I’m not used to – maybe at one point I was.

“I might need to get used to it as well but Tav would run up and down that line for 180 minutes if needed.”

Balogun is sure he can do a job after a pep talk from boss Steven Gerrard.

He said: “The manager just said, ‘I know you can play, you have all the abilities you need, technically and physically, to go and play it’.

“It gave me that extra boost to back myself.

“I came in during a shaky period so that helped.

“There was a shift in the second half. It wasn’t perfect but we got confidence and I got on the ball and was able to play that Tavernier role.”

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