September 25, 2021

Balogun glad after winning Rangers debut, allays injury fears

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The Nigeria international has reacted after playing his first game for Steven Gerrard’s men at Pittodrie Stadium

Leon Balogun has expressed his delight after helping Rangers secure a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen on his debut appearance on Saturday.

The 32-year-old defender teamed up with the Ibrox Stadium outfit from Championship side Wigan Athletic last month after his contract with the Latics ended.

The centre-back was immediately handed a starting role in the Gers’ first game of the 2020-21 Scottish Premiership season and delivered solid defensive performances.

Balogun shone in his role to help the Gers keep a clean sheet at Pittodrie Stadium, making a number of clearances and accurate passes.  

The former Mainz defender has praised his teammates, especially Connor Goldson, for helping him settle quickly at the club.

“We are happy with the win. Obviously, it was my first game and my welcome to Scottish football and it could hardly have gone any better – and I think any harder as well,” Balogun told the club website.

“I have had similar games before in the Bundesliga, the Premier League and also the Championship – it was very direct but you just have to adapt.

“The second half was maybe not exactly what we wanted the game to be and to look like, but we are happy with the win and the clean sheet as well.

“The lads did a great job in helping me to adjust through the whole week I have trained and it has been fun.

“Obviously, my experience helps a little bit, but he [Goldson] is a great talker on the pitch. He told me before the match if he was too loud, it was just to help me, and I welcome that because I need some time to get used to the mechanisms.”

Balogun collided with the post during the encounter at Pittodrie Stadium but featured throughout the match and has assured he is not suffering from any injury.

“I took some tablets to keep the headache down but I carried on. I don’t think I suffered any major concussion or anything which is the most important thing. I got a few headers in after that as well so there is no need to worry,” he continued.

The defender also expressed his appreciation to the Rangers fans for the warm welcome he received from upon his arrival, 

“It has been big! When I signed on Friday, everything was a bit hectic so I had to go back to Manchester to get some stuff,” he added.

“But it has been amazing – I slowly start to get an idea of how big the fan culture is. As I said in my first interview, I heard a lot about it, but I think there is nothing like having them with you and behind you and everybody is looking forward to getting them back into the stadium.”

Balogun will be expected to make his second appearance for Rangers when they take on St. Mirren in their next league game on August 9.