By Alex Stevens
Dominic Ball has revealed he would be open a second season on loan at Rangers after admitting he is “probably not ready” to compete for a place in the Tottenham team.
The highly-rated Spurs 20-year-old has spent the entire campaign on loan at Ibrox to gain crucial first-team experience.
The centre-back-turned-defensive midfielder has played a significant part in Rangers’ Scottish Championship title triumph, which was sealed on Tuesday night when they beat Dumbarton 1-0 to book their place back into the Premiership.
Rangers manager Mark Warburton strongly suggested on Wednesday that Ball and fellow on-loan Premier League player Gedion Zelalem, whose parent club is Arsenal, will not be members of Rangers squad next season as they attempt to establish themselves in the top flight with the north London giants.
But England Under-20 international Ball, who joined the Spurs academy in 2011, hinted that his development would be best served by another campaign on loan at Rangers.
“I love the lads here, and the manager, and I’d definitely be open to coming back here,” said Ball on Thursday, as quoted by the Rangers website. “But it’s down to Spurs and the manager there. I’ll have to see what the options are and what the manager at Spurs wants. I’m contracted with them and I keep in touch with them every couple of weeks.
“The manager down there has built a really good squad and a strong mentality to the team. Because of that, it’s encouraging to know that, if I do stay down there, I’ve got to push really hard to get in that team and he’ll develop me as a player.
“But I haven’t been there so I don’t know the standard. We’re talking about three or four world-class players playing at centre-back and holding-mid. I’m probably not ready to go in there, but I’ll push. I believe in myself to see what happens.
— Rangers FC (@RangersFC) April 7, 2016
“Spurs will be in the Champions League. Whether I’m involved or not in that, just being around it would be great. I don’t think you can ever say ‘yes I’m ready’ or ‘no I’m not ready’. You can be confident and give it everything.
“But I also know playing under the gaffer and David Weir at Rangers means I’ll improve. The standard here is very good and I think I’ve improved up to now, but obviously I’m still looking to improve more.”
Asked by Sky Sports News HQ on Wednesday morning about the pair, Warburton said: “Two talented young players.
“They will go back to their clubs. They are Tottenham and Arsenal players respectively. Obviously we chat to the clubs about the situation with players but they are loan players that have done a fantastic job for us.
“I hope they enjoyed the experience and they’ll go back to their clubs, I hope, better people and better players.”
Central defender Ball has made 25 appearances for Rangers this season, 13 of which have been league starts.
In other Tottenham news, it has been reported that Bayern Munich have a “crush” on a 22-year-old Spurs ace.