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Kyle Lafferty tips 'fantastic' young Rangers player to become a club legend



Kyle Lafferty during his time with Rangers

Kyle Lafferty during his time with Rangers

AFP/Getty Images

Kyle Lafferty during his time with Rangers

Kyle Lafferty has tipped one of Rangers' rising stars to become a club legend at Ibrox.

The Northern Ireland striker knows what it takes to succeed in the Old Firm Glasgow bubble, having won three consecutive league titles with the Light Blues from 2009 to 2011.

With Steven Gerrard's side now within 16 points of clinching this season's Scottish Premiership title, Lafferty reckons Ianis Hagi has what it takes to cement his spot in Rangers history.

The Romanian international has scored five times this season from attacking midfield. He's the son of the legendary Gheorge Hagi, who played for Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Lafferty reckons the 22-year-old can be a key figure for Rangers for years to come.

"When you play for a big team like Rangers, the pressure is huge," he told Romanian outlet ProSport. "Fans expect (players) to give it their all on the field whether you play (against) a relegation team or Celtic.

"If you lose a match, it's the end of the world. That's how Rangers fans live. But I saw quality in Ianis Hagi.

"He had some problems at one point with an injury, but now things have settled down and I (he is) fantastic.

"He is a player who will mark the history of Rangers in the coming years and, if he is not transferred to another team, he has the potential to become a legend of the club. He's like a rising stallion, he's going to give his best in the years to come. I'm sure he will go very high."

All but one of Hagi's goals this season have come since December, while he is also now in double figures for the campaign in terms of assists.

Having arrived in Scotland less than two months before the coronavirus pandemic kicked off, it hasn't been an ideal surrounding for settling in but Hagi has revealed that a festive visit from his parents has helped him kick on over recent weeks.

“When you come into a new environment you want to adapt as quickly as possible," he said.

“The Covid situation certainly hasn’t helped that. I am in my flat, staying in, just watching games on TV. As a professional footballer you have to adapt.

“I was lucky I could have my family over for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and you can see that on the pitch as well that I’m really happy and enjoying.

“Since day one, actually even the phone calls I had with Steven Gerrard and Ross Wilson before I came, they understood me as a player.

“If the relationship between manager, sporting director and player is a good one, you give your best. I’m giving my best for Rangers and I can still do better.

“I am still at the beginning of my career and there is a lot more to come. Of course, I am happy with my numbers, but there is much more to my game now.

“I think I have improved my defensive work and my overall work-rate for the team. I just try to get better at every aspect, it’s not just my numbers from an attacking point of view; it’s my all-round game.

“I am still young, I am only 22. I am looking forward to improving every aspect of my game.”

Belfast Telegraph