Many Rangers fans will likely react with relatively muted responses to the news Leon King’s contract has/will extend till 2026. The 18-year old, thrown in at the deep end through no one’s fault, struggled terribly under ex-manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst and was scoffed at by most after a few matches, despite Ibrox Noise’s insistence that he simply wasn’t ready.
And we can’t deny that that spell under the former boss probably damaged his reputation a little among Rangers fans, fans who had bounced with joy when the lad originally signed a new deal amid interest down south a couple of years ago.
And now he is said to be extending for another four years, with Rangers and Michael Beale believing the lad is the real deal and worthy of a long-term contract.
He’s a player it’s hard to judge at this point – hurled in at the deep end when nowhere near ready for it, King’s development went from fringe player to desperately-needed first-team starter in the bat of an eye, and that definitely stunted things.
King needs to go back to being a fringe player, learning his trade, because at 18 no one apart from Paolo Maldini is ready, and that’s perfectly normal. He’s a player, King that is, we can’t really assess – he has a lot of promise, but tonnes of fans slated him for his performances the past two months, not just saying he wasn’t ready but that he was ‘average’ at best and ‘rubbish’ at worst. Typical harsh Rangers supporters these days.
King deserves another crack at it, a chance to properly evolve into a good defender, and if he isn’t making the mark when he’s around 20+ then ok, perhaps he isn’t quite up to the task.
But the Rangers kid should get the right development path and Rangers are ready now to give him that.
Hopefully he takes it in the way we all expect him to, because this Ibrox youngster is a talented and intelligent defender, he’s just had no one next to him talking him through everything and has had to walk his Rangers path pretty much alone in recent times.
Which wasn’t really fair. Hopefully he gets the right bite of the cherry.