'Concentrating on myself’ - Rangers defender speaks about lack of game time and Ibrox future

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Leon King started at the heart of the defence during Rangers’ friendly with FC Copenhagen

Leon King has long been viewed as one of Rangers’ brightest young prospects, but he is currently struggling for regular first team football, leading to some speculation over his long-term future at Ibrox.

The young defender first emerged on the scene at just 16 years of age, when Steven Gerrard handed him his debut in a League Cup tie against Falkirk in 2020.

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King was praised for his performance and has since amassed a further 30 appearances in all competitions, with the bulk of those (23) coming last season.

In more recent months, King has received limited first team exposure, featuring just three times and has often featured for the B team instead.

The defender admitted in an interview with Glasgow Times that he has found it difficult to be out of the first team picture, but remains adamant that he will fight for his place at Ibrox and claims that he has also held productive talks with manager Philippe Clement.

“To be honest, no,” the Scotland U21 international said when asked if he’d thought about a loan move. “I’ve just been concentrating on myself and bettering myself in training.”

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The 20-year-old added: “The manager is big on the boys who aren’t playing pushing the boys who are in training.

“I feel as though we’re a lot closer now in terms of the boys who come into the team compared to those starting. I’m just really enjoying myself at the moment and long may that continue.

“Obviously it’s difficult when a new manager comes in because you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know if you’ll still be here, you don’t know what the script is really.

“But he was really good with me. He was open, he was honest and he told me he wanted me to stay and fight for my place.

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“Last year was difficult as I had quite a lengthy time not playing games. So it was really nice to get back out there playing in front of the fans at Ibrox.”

King featured at the heart of the defence during his side’s recent 2-2 draw with FC Copenhagen in a mid-season friendly and admitted it was a great feeling to be back on the pitch.

He added: "It was really nice to get back out there playing in front of the fans at Ibrox.

“Now I just need to repay that faith the manager has shown in me by putting me back in the squad. Modern-day football is about your ability to be versatile and play different positions.

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“I’ve always looked to be able to play in different positions because ultimately it helps you get a game at the end of the day. So it’s great that I can fill in a lot of different roles if the manager needs me.

“I’ll play anywhere. Every young boy just wants to play football so if you’re not, it can be difficult. I just need to keep my head down but I’ll play anywhere the manager needs me to.”

Rangers will travel to Hibs in their next Premiership match and King will be one of the names competing for a place in Clement’s match day squad.  Further matches against St Mirren, Livingston and Aberdeen will follow in the coming weeks, before a cup-tie against a much unfancied Ayr United team, struggling at the foot of the Championship.

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