Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has revealed his delight following an assured display from new signing Leon Balogun on his debut for the club – saying you don’t win anything without “warriors” like the 32-year-old.
Balogun did not take part in any of the Ibrox club’s pre-season friendlies after signing a one-year deal last week and was given a baptism of fire after being named in Gerrard’s starting XI for his side’s opening day trip to Pittodrie.
The Nigeria international gained plenty of admirers for his commanding performance in the heart of the Rangers defence, as the away side recorded a 1-0 win over Aberdeen, thanks to Ryan Kent’s first-half strike.
Speaking to Rangers TV after the final whistle, Gerrard was effusive in his praise for his latest recruit – and revealed that his teammates were similarly impressed with the defender’s first outing for his new club.
“You don’t win anything without [warriors], that’s why I like them,” Gerrard said.
“I love number 10s, I love people that shine, I love skills, I love people that entertain, but you need leaders, you need warriors and you need people who are going to put their body on the line.
“I thought we saw both sides of our game today – we played some lovely football, but, when we had to dig deep and when we had to stick together, and when we had to put our bodies on the line, everyone, to a man, delivered.
“For Leon’s debut, away at Pittodrie, being in the door a week, it was outstanding and I am very pleased for him.
“He got a round of applause in the dressing room which was thoroughly deserved.”