Lee Hodson on how Mark Warburton changed his career path

Rangers defender Lee Hodson has credited manager Mark Warburton with changing the course of his football career when his former coach at Watford switched him from a centre-forward into a roving right-back.

Lee Hodson battles for possession with Motherwell's Joe Chalmers during Saturday's 2-1 victory for the Ibrox club. Picture: SNS
Lee Hodson battles for possession with Motherwell's Joe Chalmers during Saturday's 2-1 victory for the Ibrox club. Picture: SNS

Hodson told Rangers TV that before encountering Warburton while at under-16s level, he’d always thought of himself as a striker, like most talented youngsters.

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However, Warburton saw something else in the local lad who would go on to make the breakthrough at Watford, notching 91 appearances at the club before a move to MK Dons.

After an impressive spell on loan at Kilmarnock last season, Warburton secured the 25-year-old on a three-year deal to compete for places and provide cover at the full-back positions behind James Tavernier and Lee Wallace.

At first Hodson had to be patient for his place in the starting XI, but he’s been a regular feature in the side since starting the December win over Aberdeen, a match in which Hodson rolled back the years by grabbing what proved to be the winning goal.

He said: “Back in the day when I first signed at Watford as a youngster I was a centre-forward. The gaffer, when I was an under 16, put me in at right-back for a game and ever since then I have played as a full-back.

“He is the one who made me into a defender.

“Every player wants to be playing and coming in against Aberdeen and I scored my first goal at Ibrox and there is no better place to score it.

“My finishing is probably not as good as what it used to be but when I got into that area of the box I thought there is one thing I need to do here and that is hit it as hard as I can and hope for the best. Lucky enough it hit the back of the net.

He added: “I enjoyed the spell when I was playing and when I got given that chance again I just needed to keep playing to the best that I can and try to stay in the team.

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“We have two good right-backs here, Tav proved how good he was last year and at the start of the season too so I knew it was never going to be easy.

“I knew it would be a challenge for me but that is what you want in your career, you don’t want to be in a team and have no one fighting for your spot.”

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