Super Eagles center back Leon Balogun impressed in a right-back role as Rangers won in a seven -goal thriller in the Europa League round of 32 clash against Royal Antwerp at Bosuilstadion on Thursday night.
With 24 minutes played, the Nigeria international came off the bench to replace Rangers skipper James Tavernier, who was not able to continue due to an injury.
The right-back position is not entirely new to Balogun as he has played in that role for the national team, Mainz and Brighton & Hove.
In fact, he made his debut for the Super Eagles as a right-back when he replaced Efe Ambrose in the second half of a pre-World Cup friendly against Mexico in March 2014.
“I was back to an old role and I was happy I can still play it,” Balogun said at yesterday’s press conference.
“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.”
The right-back role is a very demanding position and Balogun reckons that it will be difficult to step into the shoes of Tavernier, who is doubtful for Sunday’s league match against Dundee United.
“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 added.