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Ivory Coast prodigy showing flashes of his talent in Scottish League

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Amad Diallo is showing flashes of his talent during his loan spell at Rangers but has some way to go to fulfill his potential, according to former Scotland international Steven Thompson.

The 19-year-old Ivory Coast international has stepped off the bench at half-time to score in Rangers’ past two league games and help secure home wins over Dundee United and Ross County.

Manchester United paid Atalanta an initial fee of £19m – with a further £18.2m in add-ons – for Diallo back in January 2021 but he had only started three senior club games before his switch to the Scottish side at the start of this year.

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“In the second half against Dundee United he was brilliant,” Thompson, who played for Rangers between 2003 and 2006, told BBC Sport Africa.

“But that’s at Ibrox, when you’re very comfortable in a game and you’re getting a lot of freedom on the ball. That wasn’t the case in the Old Firm game [at Celtic in February] where he wasn’t performing so well.

“I think pressure comes with the price tag that was paid for him. That brings a level of expectancy from supporters that watch him.

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“He’s obviously full of potential and in flashes he looks very, very good. But I think he’s a bit off becoming a regular starter for Rangers.”

read also:EPL: Tottenham must maintain the momentum – Pundits
Diallo was described by then-Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as “one of the most exciting young prospects in the game” when he made his move to Old Trafford.

The teenager, who had only played five games for Italian club Atalanta before his transfer, netted in his third outing for United against Milan in the Europa League in March last year.

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He made his international debut for Ivory Coast later the same month and has three caps for the Elephants – but was not in their squad for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Having appeared just once for United this season – a start against Young Boys in a Champions League group game in December – Diallo was allowed to join Rangers in January.

He scored five minutes into his Scottish Premiership debut, in a 3-3 draw at Ross County, but struggled away at Celtic on his second outing and was withdrawn at the break as Rangers lost that Old Firm derby 3-0.

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Diallo has only started one more league game since then, and has not featured in the Glasgow club’s run to the Europa League final.

Former Scotland forward James McFadden says the teenager has displayed “tremendous ability” but “still need to develop” and work on his final product.

“At Celtic he almost looked like a rabbit in the headlights,” Thompson, 43, added.

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“That set him back, I think, both from a kind of mental point of view and the fact that then Giovanni van Bronckhorst didn’t use him as much.

“When you look at Amad and the amount of games he’s played as a professional footballer, he’s hardly played any. He’s learning.

“What happens to him next season? I guess we’ll find out.”

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