THERE is one defence that Clint Hill really wanted George Edmundson to be lining up in this season. He isn’t too disappointed at where the Englishman is actually playing his football, though.

Interest in Edmundson was high this summer after an excellent campaign for Oldham Athletic. It was a matter of to where, and not if, he would move on.

Fleetwood Town, where Hill is assistant manager to Joey Barton, were one of the suitors for the stopper as a host of English sides took a close look and some put their cash on the table at Boundary Park.

It was Rangers that would win the battle for Edmundson’s signature. It took a couple of offers to strike a deal with Oldham, but the 22-year-old’s heart had been set on Ibrox for some time.


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It meant Hill and former Rangers team-mate Barton missed out on a player they had identified as having a bright future in the game, as well as the ability to make an impression in the here and now at Highbury.

Their loss has been Steven Gerrard’s gain, however, and Edmundson has made a solid start to his first campaign at Ibrox.

He was perhaps viewed as the fourth-choice centre-back when he put pen-to-paper on a deal that will keep him in Light Blue until 2022.

But Gerrard has clear confidence and belief in Edmundson and he has a chance to earn his place in the side as much as the other three options - Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and Filip Helander - that he has in that position.

As Hill watches on and wishes the Gers well, he is confident Gerrard will get the best out of a player that could turn into a bargain buy at around £650,000.

Hill said: “Young Edmundson has come in from Oldham and he’s a helluva talent. We looked at him.

“We watched him quite a lot. I’m at Fleetwood with Joe now and he was someone we targeted.

“Over a number of matches we looked at him and thought he had the ability to kick right on.

“Obviously, when Rangers come knocking on the door for a player, everyone else gets swept to the side.

“He’s a great size and yet he’s confident on the ball. He’s good in the air and also reads the game well.


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“He has all of those fundamentals that you look for in a centre-half.

“It’s up to him now to kick onto the next stage and the next level and I’m sure he will do when he is given the opportunities.”

When Gerrard set about strengthening his squad for his second season at Ibrox, it was clear that defensive reinforcements had to be forthcoming this summer.

The £3.5million deal that brought Helander from Bologna was a significant one and looked like being the biggest outlay of the window until the deadline day swoop for Ryan Kent.

The arrivals of Helander and Edmundson have added quality and competition at centre-back and Katic in particular has benefitted from their presence as he has raised his levels once again this term.

There is no first choice partnership for Gerrard at present and Hill knows the decisions on a game-by-game basis will be difficult but welcome for the Ibrox boss.

That doesn’t just apply at the back, though. Right across the park, Gerrard has choices and big calls to make after assembling the strongest Ibrox squad for several seasons.

“There is a lot of talent in that Rangers backline,” Hill, who became a fan favourite during his single season at Ibrox, said.

“There is strength in depth around the position. Nikola Katic can’t even get into the team at the moment. Connor Goldson has taken it on again and Filip Helander is also there now.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about him in terms of his precise talents. I’ve watched a few of the games where he has been involved and obviously a large sum of money was spent on him.

“That tells me the homework has been done on him and they feel he’s a player the team needed.

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“There is, as I said, real competition for places now around that back four and people know that if they are not performing to the standards required, then it could be a long tough season ahead.

“You need that strength in depth in all areas of a squad to win a title. There may be games when it is tight and you are being frustrated, so then it comes time to look to your bench and see what’s there.

“Steven can look and he might have Morelos or Defoe there, he might have Ojo. People who can break down defences.

“He must look at the squad and think he has a team and a group which can mount a serious challenge.”

Hill has been encouraged with what he has seen of Rangers this season and he got a chance to take the acclaim of the Ibrox crowd once again on Saturday as he returned to Glasgow to take part in the Legends game with Liverpool.

There is a belief around Rangers at present as Gerrard looks to lead his side to the Premiership title and end the long wait for silverware. Like the Gers fans, Hill has faith in the 39-year-old this term.

Hill said: “This is a proper club. If you do well here, you are world renowned and you have done one very good job.

“He has to carry on what he is doing and he has to win the trophies which Rangers want to do.

“If he manages to do that, the rest will take of itself. But I’m sure Steven knows that, if he is successful at Rangers which it is one of the best jobs in the world, then he’ll have been successful as a manager.”