MARK Warburton has vowed never to tell his Rangers players to stop performing tricks, so long as these are restricted to the final third of the pitch.
The Ibrox manager was reacting to the storm provoked by winger Nathan Oduwa, who was accused by Alloa Athletic full-back Colin Hamilton of “disrespect” after trying a two-footed “rainbow flick” near the end of Rangers’ 5-1 win at the Indodrill Stadium on Sunday.
Warburton revealed that the reaction has left the on-loan Spurs player “bemused”. The manager was also taken aback that Oduwa’s flamboyant cameo had been interpreted as disrespectful to his opponents.
“He’s still a young guy and he’s woken up, bought three or four newspapers and seen himself splashed all over the back pages,” said Warburton. “That wouldn’t happen down south but he now understands it’s different here.
“He’s a young guy and even though he’s come from a Premier League club, he’s still a young guy and he’s woken up, bought three or four newspapers and seen himself splashed all over the back pages.
“He was gob-smacked this morning. I had to put my arm around his shoulder and say, ‘listen, it’s testament to your skill and endeavour – so keep on doing the right thing. He was most concerned and his first comment was that there was no lack of respect.”
There was no lack of respect from one player to another. No showboatingMark Warburton
Warburton reassured the player and told him he is free to carry on entertaining providing he is doing so at the right end of the pitch, with a trip to face Ayr United in the Petrofac Training Cup to come tomorrow night.
“I’d always encourage him – but in the final third,” said Warburton. “You can take risks in the final third. There was no lack of respect from one player to another, there was no showboating.
“He has bundles of natural talent and he was trying to use that. If a foreign player did that, what would be the reaction be?” asked Warburton. “If Lionel Messi did that everyone would be on their feet. He’s a young kid, he loves his football, he plays with a smile on his face.
“I’ve been told there’s not been a lot of smiles around here for a few years. This kid is permanently smiling. There’s no lack of respect. It’s just a young player playing his football with a purpose in front of a passionate away support. I can’t believe some of the comments that have been made.”
Warburton, meanwhile, revealed he is looking to bring one more player to Ibrox this week. However, he has ruled out the possibility that Haris Vuckic, who was on loan at the club last season from Newcastle United, will return after apparently being told he is surplus to requirements at St James’ Park.
“We’ll hopefully add one more this week and then we’ll be almost there,” said Warburton, before confirming that Vuckic, who scored nine goals for Rangers last season after joining in February, “isn’t an option for us”.