Football

Connor Boylan: Rangers Kid Nathan Oduwa Has Made Himself A Target For Kicking

Connor Boylan: Rangers Kid Nathan Oduwa Has Made Himself A Target For Kicking

Nathan Oduwa only has himself to blame for any heavy challenges that come his way.

The on-loan Spurs youngster sealed his fate as soon as he flicked that ball over the head of Alloa’s Colin Hamilton on his Rangers debut back in August.

By Connor Boylan – Lead Columnist – @connor_boylan

I don’t buy into Hamilton’s idea that Oduwa had been disrespectful with the rainbow flick. It was just his way if endearing himself to the supporters.

As every Rangers fan rejoiced at the prospect of an exciting young talent coming through the door, every hard-tackling defender in the SPFL was immediately plotting his downfall, itching for the chance to put the boot in.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s the most exciting player in the Championship right now. But that’s just the reality of the Scottish game.

There’s no denying that Livingston went out to try and stifle Mark Warburton’s side during their Petrofac Training Cup clash on Tuesday.

And they would have succeeded if it hadn’t been for a wonderful strike from substitute Nicky Clark settling the tie.

Livi boss Mark Burchill can deny that his players targeted Oduwa until the cows come home.

The fact remains, Rangers’ danger-man limped out at half-time after being kicked off the park.

Warburton has every right to express his concerns over Oduwa’s safety on the pitch – and referees equally have a duty to protect the players if the tackles are flying in.

The challenges from Kieran Gibbons and Declan Gallagher were particularly shocking on Tuesday night, but sadly that’s the mentality of opposing players who come up against Oduwa now.

They would rather bring the winger down and take the booking than risk having the ball flicked over their heads like Hamilton did.

Like I said, he has brought this on himself now – but there’s doubt he has the ability and the intelligence to beat it.

At the age of just 19, it could also be the making of the young Englishman.

The physicality north of the border – and a few bruised ankles along the way – will see Oduwa return to Tottenham a little more streetwise and with that added savvy to his game.

But for now, he’ll have to make do with the School of Hard Knocks that is Scottish football.

 

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