Leon Balogun still to sit on the bench, QPR manager confirms

Leon Balogun is expected to fight for a starting spot at English Championship side QPR alongside three centre-backs

Leon Balogun joins QPR

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun will not walk into the starting line-up immediately at new club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) as confirmed by the club's manager.

The 34-year-old Nigerian international recently signed a one-year deal with the English Championship side, reuniting with Michael Beale who was his assistant manager at Rangers.

Balogun joined QPR after a two-year stint with Scottish giants Rangers where he won the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Cup as well as featured in the UEFA Europa League final.

Beale, who knows the player quite well, admitted that the Super Eagles star will immediately improve the quality of the QPR defence based on the pedigree of clubs and competitions he has played in.

While speaking with westlondonsport, the QPR manager tipped Balogun to also improve the current standards at the club.

Beale stated: "Having Leon is fantastic as he has international and big-game experience. The last two games he was involved with for Rangers were the Europa League final and the Scottish Cup final.

“He is coming out of a club where the expectation level is absolutely enormous for every single game and I want someone coming in here and pushing those standards."

However, the QPR manager noted that despite his experience and quality, Balogun will not be handed an automatic place in the squad, rather he would have to work for it.

Beale explained that doing this would increase the competition within the QPR squad which the arrival of Balogun affords him in the centre-back positions.

“But Leon has to earn his place, nothing is a given and I have explained to Rob, Jimmy and Jake at the start of the season there are no guarantees here – you have to fight and play well and Leon comes into that equation as well," Beale asserted.

“I like the idea of competition and we are starting to get to where a squad should look like. It shouldn’t just be 11 or 12 players, it should be 16 or 17 players pushing for a start and at the centre-back position Leon certainly does that for us.”

Leon Balogun will compete against three other established centre-backs at QPR, with Jimmy Dunne and Rob Dickie the first-choice centre-back pairing while former Chelsea player Jake Clarke-Salter is also on the books but out with an injury at the moment.

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