Souness snubs Espartero

BLACKBURN Rovers manager Graeme Souness last night cleared the field for Rangers to sign French midfielder Mario Espartero after the Metz player failed to fulfil his requirements.

Souness was unimpressed by the 24-year-old in a brief trial at the Ewood Park club’s training ground on Monday and revealed he had expected Espartero to operate in a different position.

Now the player who has acquired a controversial reputation as a troublemaker in his homeland will seek to convince Rangers manager Alex McLeish of his credentials when he trains with the first- team squad at Murray Park for the next three days.

Espartero spent yesterday in Glasgow looking at the Ibrox club’s stadium, training ground and the city itself as he attempts to earn a move to British football.

The English Premiership had been the 1.5 million rated defensive midfielder’s preference but the rejection from Souness means he will now concentrate his efforts on impressing Rangers.

"He is not what we are looking for," said Souness. "I was under the impression he was a wide right midfielder, which is what we need, but he plays in the centre. We won’t be pursuing our interest in him."

Rangers have also welcomed Christian Nerlinger back to training. The 27-year-old German midfielder has been sidelined since sustaining a foot injury in August.