Rangers youngster Ryan Hardie calls West Ham striker Nikica Jelavic his idol

Nikica Jelavic

Rangers youngster Hardie has claimed West Ham striker Jelavic is his footballing idol.

In a Q&A session with the official Rangers Youth Twitter account, young striker Ryan Hardie has compared his game to that of Nikica Jelavic, claiming that the West Ham striker is the player who he idolises and attempts to learn from.

Jelavic, who moved to the Boleyn Ground over the summer, spent two years with Rangers, scoring 36 goals in 56 appearances for the Gers.

It was at Ibrox where he truly established himself in European football as a talented goalscorer, earning a move to Everton in 2012, before switch to Hull in January 2014, and then only recently signing for the Hammers.

He is well regarded for his technical abilities and his classy style of holding the ball up, and it is clear to see that Hardie has based his game on the Croatian international.

Hardie, 18, made his debut for the Gers last season, appearing against Cowdenbeath off the substitutes bench. He made a few more cameo appearances, before earning his first start against Dumbarton in April - scoring twice.

One of his goals was a strike which Jelavic would have been proud of, with a delightful first time volley taking the ball into the back of the net.

He failed to score again later that season, dropping back down into the youth set-up, but Hardie is expected to be in-and-around Mark Warburton’s senior squad this season as he trains with them first-team.

The young striker has a clear idol, and if he can go on to have the same kind of impact at Ibrox as Jelavic did, Rangers have a real top class player on their hands.

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