LEE Hodson has revealed that Mark Warburton was the man who turned him into a full-back from a striker.
Up until under 16 level Hodson was a runaway forward who loved to score goals but as a youngster at Watford his now manager switched him to right-back for an academy game and he’s stayed in defence ever since.
Warburton has now brought his former youth protégée north and Hodson turned back the years to net an important goal against Aberdeen in December – a month in which his Gers career flourished.
The 25-year-old told RangersTV:
“Back in the day when I first signed at Watford as a youngster I was a centre-forward and the gaffer, when I was an under 16 put me in at right-back for a game and ever since then I have played as a full-back. He is the one who made me into a defender.
“My finishing is probably not as good as what it used to be but when I got into that area of the box I thought there is one thing I need to do here and that is hit it as hard as I can and hope for the best. Lucky enough it hit the back of the net.
“It doesn’t happen too often but when it does I enjoy it and it was a great feeling.
“Every player wants to be playing and coming in against Aberdeen and I scored my first goal at Ibrox and there is no better place to score it.
“I enjoyed the spell when I was playing and when I got given that chance again I just needed to keep playing to the best that I can and try to stay in the team.
“We have two good right-backs here, Tav proved how good he was last year and at the start of the season too so I knew it was never going to be easy to come here and get in the team straight away.
“I knew it would be a challenge for me here but that is what you want in your career, you don’t want to be in a team and have no one fighting for your spot because, not me personally, player do get complacent.”
Hodson admits his competition is tough to keep a starting spot in the Rangers XI but he laughs off any suggestion that the battle with James Tavernier could ever get nasty.
The Northern Irishman has started 11 games since his summer arrival from MK Dons but the last month of 2016 saw a more steady run in the side for the defender – starting four of the Light Blues six December fixtures.
He laughed: “Tav and I get on really well and I am not the sort of person to hate on other people because they are playing in my position.
“There is no hatred between us both, it is one of those things, it is football and you want to be playing and so does he.
“When it gets down to business we just both do as best as we can but off the field we are good mates.
“Coming here and challenging with the likes of Tav, which is a top quality full-back, will only improve me as a player.
“I definitely feel I am improving here already, it is just training week in and week out with the top quality players that we’ve got in the squad and that helps massively.”