Friday, 19 May 2017

Sergeant Warburton's Loan-ly Rangers Club - where are they now?

If one thing punctuated Mark Warburton’s ultimately disastrous regime at Ibrox, it was his unforgiveable use of Ibrox and Murray Park as a pseudo-lab for other teams’ youth players while borderline auditioning himself for another gig by showing how ‘well’ he could develop these young players.

As a homage to our fine ex-manager, Ibrox Noise decided to take an irreverent look down Memory Lane and have a look at all the departed loanees Bread Man brought in and ask the pertinent question: ‘where are they now?’

Nathan Oduwa:

One of the first through the door at Ibrox, Oduwa came from a pretty good stable in Mauricio Pochettino’s enterprising Spurs side. And when we saw ‘that’ display where he ran riot against Raith Rovers, we allowed ourselves to believe this was an extraordinary talent. One swift press soundbite of ‘disrespect’ from Alloa’s Colin Hamilton though and Oduwa was finished at Ibrox. He left soon after, heading off to the mighty Colchester in League 2 (barely made a dent there), before Peterborough gave him nine shots from the bench. Nowadays Oduwa is in the heady company of Slovenian ‘giants’ Olimpija Ljubljana (yeah I dunno know them either) having penned a three year deal.

Gedion Zelalem:

Whoever said this kid could dribble like Iniesta and pass like Xavi was clearly on something. While he had a touch of composure in some matches, his general lack of vision, presence, strength or general quality meant that likewise whoever put him in the world’s top 10 of best youngsters globally must have been on the same thing. After it became apparent he was not cut out for top flight football at Ibrox, he headed back south to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. Who quickly dumped him out to the Dutch second division and the Eerstie Divisie outfit VVV Venlo. That loan is about to expire and having only played 9 times, with 8 sub appearances among them, it is safe to say his career is not exactly taking off.

Dominic Ball:

This was marginally a slightly better one – he was decent in defence, and decent in defensive midfield. Absolutely nowhere near the standard needed, obviously, but he did not disgrace himself. Another from the Tottenham youth ranks, Ball headed back south to Spurs who told him he was surplus and the best gig he could get was Rotherham before they then ditched him to Oduwa’s old stomping ground in Peterborough. He remained there till March when he fell out with staff and went back to Rotherham where he continues on.

Billy King:

To this day I will never understand this one. A complete diddy of a winger, when Rangers already had a tonne of them, who no one even knew except to say they liked his name when his arrival was announced more or less out of the blue, King was a shambles at Ibrox. Thankfully he was not retained beyond that summer, and is currently on loan at bottom-feeding Inverness.

Ultimately the barometer of Warburton's time at Ibrox is these kinds of players, and the mess we have been left with thanks to boatloads of them coming in. Watching the lower league English playoffs feels very much like watching Rangers.

With Hyndman only just out the door, and Toral to follow him, we will see if their post-Rangers careers fare any better. My bet is they will not.

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