Umaro Balde has admitted that he idolises Chelsea enforcer N’Golo Kante with the Rangers youngster offering a tantalising hint of the qualities he could bring to Steven Gerrard’s squad, in quotes reported by the club's official website.
One of the brightest talents in Sporting Lisbon’s famed youth academy signed a two-year deal with the Glasgow giants over yet another summer full of incomings and outgoings.
Balde has a long way to go before he can match the achievements of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Luis Figo, Bruno Fernandes and co but there is no doubting the raw talent that has marked the Guinea-Bissau-born wonderkid out as a future star at such a young age.
The former Portugal U15 ace is yet to make his first-team debut for Rangers with fans on the blue half of the city unsure as to what they can expect from the little-known youngster.
But Balde’s admiration of World Cup winner Kante, a relentless ball-winner who has lifted the Premier League title with both Chelsea and Leicester City, speaks volumes.
“N’Golo Kanté at Chelsea,” Balde said when asked to name his footballing inspiration.
“He plays in the same position as me. We have a similar style of football.”
£30 million Kante has evolved from arguably the best defensive midfielder on the planet into a more attack-minded, all-round player under Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard with the diminutive Frenchman also possessing an excellent passing range and the ability to drive forward from deep with great effect.
Balde, who also idolises Rangers team-mates Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo, obviously sees himself as more than a ball-winner first and foremost with the 17-year-old also keen to highlight his admiration for midfielders who are just as impressive in possession as they are without it.
And with Rangers arguably lacking the sort of player capable of haring around the pitch and snapping at the heels of opposition attackers, Balde might just give Gerrard something different.
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