Sage advice from boss Warburton: ‘go play with smile on your face’


Bright Osayi-Samuel says he is playing “with a smile on my face” thanks to his boss, who he is crediting with making him a better player.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who bagged his first goal of the season in last week’s 4-2 win against Blackburn, enjoyed a breakthrough season last time out, making 34 appearances for the Hoops.

But there was something important missing from his game, and manager Mark Warburton picked up on it.

“The gaffer noticed that in training or in matches I wasn’t playing with a smile on my face and he took me aside to say: “Look, you are doing something you really love, go out and enjoy it more,’” Osayi-Samuel told the London Weekly News.

“That’s what I’m doing now and I’m really enjoying it.

“I have a really good relationship with him and feel I can go to him about anything, whereas before I kept things to myself. He’s a bit like a father figure for me, I suppose.

“This season has been going well for me and he has helped me improve.

“The main thing for me is that I’ve been getting games and it’s a good feeling when the manager has trust in you. It gives you more confidence playing regularly.”

That first goal of the season is going to help too. He scored only three last term and one the season before last. He has more bookings than goals for the R’s.

“The problem for me the last few years has been my stats,” he said.

“They’ve not been as good as they should be, but to get that first goal has given me more confidence, and hopefully there will be more goals and assists as the season goes on.

“I do extra work after training and really want to improve that side of my game and work on getting into better positions.

“I had a slight hip injury a few weeks ago, not a big thing, but because of the pain I had to rest for a couple of games and manage it with anti-inflammatories and strengthening exercises. It’s not a worry and my fitness is good.”

Rangers fans may be interested to know that Osayi-Samuel has another side to him which he thinks may be useful, even if he hopes it won’t be needed – a determination to not let racism side-track him.

The Nigerian-born player, mindful of the terrible insults England players had to put up with in Bulgaria this week, says walking off the pitch is not necessarily the path he might choose.

“I haven’t experienced anything myself, luckily,” he said. “It’s a very sticky subject. What I feel is it’s not acceptable, but I don’t know if it’s something you can ever stop completely. It only takes one person to start things and affect players on the pitch.

“I think it’s different for every player and there isn’t one way to deal with it. If it happened to me, I would ignore it and keep playing, keep my head down and prove I can still carry on in spite of it and not let it affect me.

“For some players, it can really affect them though, and if they feel it is stopping them from playing at 100 per cent, then I can understand why they would want to go off and stop playing.”

Rangers return to action after the international break with a visit to Hull City at the weekend, followed by a home match against Reading on Tuesday night.

The R’s have won only one of the past 11 encounters with the Tigers – a 2-1 home success two seasons ago, when Idrissa Sylla plundered a last-minute winner.

Osayi-Samuel is looking forward to the challenge and believes the Hoops are in good shape to pick up more points, even if they have still to keep a clean sheet this season.

“As a team, the goals we are conceding is not something I’d say is a big concern, even if we know it’s something we need to improve on,” he said.

“We’ve been working on our defensive shape and know that if we play well, we are very good at attacking and have strikers who are always capable of scoring, so confidence running through the side is high. We’ve started the season well and want to push on.”

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