Rangers defender Luca Gasparotto hoping loan helps Gers and international future

Rangers FC

The Canadian centre-back is having a successful loan stint at Airdrieonians and is on the verge of earning his first senior cap.

Rangers defender Luca Gasparotto has told MLSSoccer.com that he hopes his loan spell at Airdrieonians has put him in good stead for a first-team push when he returns to his parent club in the summer.

Gasparotto, 20, first moved to Rangers from amateur side SC Toronto in his native Canada in August 2011 but has so far made just four senior appearances during the club’s 2012-13 campaign in the Scottish fourth tier.

However, the promising centre-back has flourished since joining Airdrie on a four-month loan in September, becoming a regular fixture on the League One club’s backline and getting his deal extended until the end of the season.

Before leaving for North Lanarkshire, the Under-20 international also renewed his Rangers contract until the summer of 2016 and believes, with the experience he’s gained over recent months, that he’s now equipped to make his mark at Ibrox.

“I’m just hoping to get some more first-team time at Rangers in the future because I’ve enjoyed my first four years there and I want to continue,” said Gasparotto. “I don’t want it to come to an end.

“It’s all just been a big learning experience for me. I moved away from my home, from my family at 16, across the world, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and I’ve really enjoyed playing in Scotland.

“I’ve always been a shy player; communication’s not my strong point. But since I’ve been out on loan with these more experienced players, older players and at a higher level, you learn to communicate. ... I feel like I’m becoming more confident, more of a leader.”

Gasparotto’s season with Airdrie, in which he’s made 21 appearances so far, has also earned him a call-up for the Canadian national team’s upcoming friendlies against Guatemala and Puerto Rico, when he could earn his first senior cap.

“I’ve already had a pretty good career with the Canadian [program], and I want to keep going, so this is the next step,” he continued. “It’s going to be an exciting year, so I’m going to enjoy this week. I’m going to work really hard and try to make a good impression on the coaches.”

Gasparotto’s Rangers teammate Fraser Aird is also eligible to represent Canada, having been born in Toronto himself, although the club refused to release him for CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica this winter.

Nevertheless, the defender admits that he talks to Aird on a regular basis about representing the Canucks and is hoping his words will have the desired effect in the near future.

“Me and Fraser talk quite often. I’m always trying to get him to come play for us,” he added. “Of course I’d like to see a good player play for our country. It’d be a good thing, and hopefully he does one day.”

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