News Matches
African All Stars

'Fantastic' Balogun has to earn his place - QPR's Beale insists Nigeria international is not guaranteed to start

21:59 GMT+4 30/08/2022
Leon Balogun Nigeria 02062018
The experienced defender came to the Championship outfit as a free agent and despite his status, his new manager insists he has to fight for position

QPR manager Mick Beale insists Leon Balogun will not have a direct way into the team's first XI and will have to work for his place like any other player.

The 34-year-old Nigeria international joined the Hoops a couple of days ago from Rangers. His last competitive match was in May during the Scottish Cup final against Hearts.

Despite the 41-year-old tactician saying the centre-back is experienced which is a plus to the Championship side, the Super Eagle has to show he deserves to start for his new side.

"Having Leon is fantastic as he has international and big-game experience. The last two games he was involved with for Rangers were the Europa League final and the Scottish Cup final," Beale said as quoted by West London Sport.

"He is coming out of a club where the expectation level is absolutely enormous for every single game and I want someone coming in here and pushing those standards.

"But Leon has to earn his place, nothing is a given and I have explained to Rob, Jimmy and Jake at the start of the season there are no guarantees here – you have to fight and play well and Leon comes into that equation as well.

"I like the idea of competition and we are starting to get to where a squad should look like. It shouldn’t just be 11 or 12 players, it should be 16 or 17 players pushing for a start and at the centre-back position, Leon certainly does that for us."

With the signing of the Super Eagle, the tactician has hinted he may be changing his tactics soon.

"I am delighted to have him as I wanted the option of playing with a back three or a back four. But I couldn’t practice playing with a back three as I had only three experienced centre-halves," Beale continued.

"If I had done that and one of Jimmy [Dunne] Rob [Dickie] or Jake [Clarke-Salter] got injured I would have spent the pre-season working on something I couldn’t use."