Speaking to STV, Mark Warburton has commented on new Rangers loan signing Zelalem, admitting that his versatility was one of the main reasons he signed the midfielder.
Warburton said: “He’s an attacking midfielder so can play in the number seven, eight, 10 or 11 position. I don't want players who are confined to one position, if you're going to rotate the squad, use it and add that flexibility you have to make sure you have players who can deal with the challenges. He can fit in anywhere across that role."
“He's a very talented ball player. He comes from a top class Premier League club but he's exciting on the ball, takes good care and makes good decisions.”
It is something of a coup that Rangers have managed to secure the US youth international on a loan deal, considering his obvious talents and the other clubs keen on him.
Warburton somehow convinced Zelalem to turn down the English Championship to move to Scotland, and the 18-year-old midfielder looks to already be good enough for the Scottish Premiership, let alone the second tier.
He does have areas where he needs to improve, with Zelalem’s inexperience and slight frame likely to hinder him. But that is why he has gone on loan, and Warburton showed that he is an impressive youth coach during his time with Brentford.
He has stated that he only wanted to sign versatile players, and with Zelalem able to play in both defensive and attacking midfield, as well as in a wide position, the young American looks like the perfect player for the manager.
It was this versatility which made Warburton target him, and likely push through a deal to sign him, and expectations are high with Zelalem sure to feature for Rangers for the first time this weekend.