WHILE a supremely talented young footballer, Gedion Zelalem realises one major ingredient is still missing from his game – goals.
The 18 year-old American is yet to net in his 11 Rangers appearances so far, and indeed, he hasn’t yet scored at all in his senior career.
He knows that will need to change if he is to go on and reach his full potential, and while often reminded of that fact by Gers manager Mark Warburton, Zelalem has been thrilled with the impact the Englishman has had on his game so far in this short period of time.
The on-loan Arsenal man explained: “I know I need to add goals to my game if I want to be the player I know I can be, and I need more of an end product too.
“I get told that by the gaffer, and I absolutely agree. “I want to improve in every game and every day in training, and he keeps my feet on the ground and helps me along.
“That goes for all the coaching staff and the players too. It helps having so many people around who are of your own age. You can interact with them more, but even guys like Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace, you can talk to any time you want.”
Zelalem, like every Rangers player, was left frustrated on Saturday as Livingston held the Light Blues to a 1-1 draw at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
It was the latest in a long line of games where the opposition have set up in a defensive manner against Rangers in order to stop them from playing their own game, although Zelalem admits such games are helping him to learn different aspects of the game of football.
He continued: “Every game is a different challenge for us. In most games, the opposition have 10 players behind the ball so it’s a case of trying to break them down by moving quickly and passing the ball quickly.
“It was a tough game and they got out to the ball really quickly which was another learning experience for me.
“We worked hard and tried to find the winner, but it just didn’t happen, so we look forward to our next game against St Mirren now.”
On the international front for Zelalem, he last week enjoyed two games with the United States’ under-23 side as they warm up for an Olympic Games qualifier against Columbia next March.
Playing a double header against Brazil, Zelalem turned in a ‘Man of the Match’ performance in game one where the States went down 2-1, and while the defeat was a disappointment, he thoroughly enjoyed the learning curve.
He added: “It was a great experience to play against some top players – established players who regularly play in the Champions League.
“So it was a good test, and an eye opener because as a nation, we still have a long way to go.
“You could see their quality – their passing was very good, as was their movement off the ball, and when they lose it they try to get it back really quickly.
“So we need to learn from that and improve our passing game. It was a great experience though to see how they play.”