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.
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.
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.
“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.”