Former Everton and Rangers defender Alec Cleland believes that
all eyes will be on boyhood Blues Michael Ball and Wayne Rooney
when the two sides meet at Ibrox this weekend, for vastly different
For Ball, who made over 150 appearances for Everton in his four
years as a first-team player, it will be his first appearance for
the 'Gers at Ibrox since November 2001.
It will also be his first chance to impress Rangers boss Alex
McLeish who is yet to see the talented left-back in competitive
Ball's time in Glasgow has been marred with injury, indeed
he played just eleven times before suffering cruciate ligament
damage that has sidelined him for over a year.
Cleland, a former team-mate of Ball's at Goodison, believes
this will be the ideal opportunity to kick-start his Ibrox
"I think the Rangers fans are still to see the best of
him," said Cleland.
"I remember Michael as a great left-back who was really
comfortable on the ball and I hope next season he can put his
injuries behind him.
"He's still young and I hope he gets back to the sort
of form he had when I played with him at Everton.
"They were raving about him and he got into the England
squad which says a lot for him.
"I've read that Alex McLeish is confident that Michael
can get back into the international team and I think if he's
playing every week for Rangers then Sven Goran Eriksson will
certainly recall him.
"I wish him all the best and hope he has a great
As Cleland's Goodison career was coming to an end, Wayne
Rooney's was just beginning.
The Scotland full-back was impressed by the young striker during
his time at Everton and is confident that he will hit the headlines
for many years to come.
"I played two reserve games with young Wayne when he was
just coming on to the scene and you could see even then that he was
going to a world-class player and I don't think he could be
working under a better manager right now," continued
"Davy Moyes will nurture him along nicely and make sure he
doesn't get burnt out too early.
"In Wayne's case you should believe the hype. The
Rangers fans will see that when he comes to play at Ibrox.
Hopefully he will put on a show for the punters."