Report: The next Eric Dier set to be at Tottenham next season, major blow for Rangers
By Alex Stevens
Dominic Ball has been told to report to Tottenham for pre-season training, according to a report.
The highly-rated Spurs 20-year-old spent the 2015-16 campaign on loan at Ibrox to gain crucial first-team experience.
Ball has followed the trail blazed by Spurs mainstay Eric Dier by moving forward from his more recognised central defensive role into a midfield anchorman position.
Ibrox boss Mark Warburton had been hopeful that Ball would be back for a second stint after helping the Gers to the Championship title last season.
But the Scottish Sun report that Tottenham manager Pochettino plans to run the rule over Ball in pre-season before deciding whether the centre-back should be farmed out on loan once again for the final year of his Spurs contract.
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The newspaper cites a source close to player, who told Press Association Sport there could also be competition from clubs in England for Ball’s signature.
“Dom’s going back to do pre-season with Spurs, if he comes back to Scotland on loan it will be with Rangers,” the source told PA Sport.
“I’m sure Rangers would take him back but Pochettino is going to have a look at him during pre-season and then discuss his options from there.
“However, it’s not certain he will come back to Scotland as there are a few clubs in England who would be interested in taking him next year.”
Ball has been forced to go on the road to gain first-team experience, with his route to Pochettino’s starting line-up blocked by Belgian international pair Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.
The defender made 30 appearances for the Light Blues, 24 of them starts, as Warburton’s team claimed promotion to the top flight on top of their success in the Petrofac Training Cup.
Ball’s ability to anchor midfield was a key ingredient for Rangers as they held off Celtic to clinch a stunning victory in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals.
England Under-20 international Ball, who joined the Spurs academy in 2011, had previously hinted that his development would be best served by another campaign on loan at Ibrox.